Elkem has joined the EU run project with fourteen partners in the REE4EU consortium, and the pre-industrial pilot tests will be carried out at Elkem Technology’s Pilot Plant from 2017 to 2019.
The overall goal for the pilot tests is to produce 600 kg of Rare Earth Master Alloy in each of three runs. These alloys will be used in production of new Permanent Magnets, and thus closing the gap in the supply chain. In the pilot, lab scale Ione Liquid Extraction (ILE) and High Temperature Electrolysis (THE) processes will be up-scaled and integrated.
- For Elkem Technology, the REE4EU pilot is both a major challenge and great oppertunity. It is very exciting as it is the first step into large-scale pilot projects in EU programs, says Håvard I. Moe, SVP Elkem Technology.
The integrated REE4EU process will combine ILE and HTE to produce Rare Earth Alloys from currently under-utilized sources of waste and scrap. By achieving this, Europe will be less dependent of China as main producer and market controller of REE.
First pilot in 2017
Elkem will see the start-up of engineering and construction now in 2016, in cooperation with the other partners. According to the progress plan, the first pilot step will start in Q2-2017.
The EU project is called SPIRE 7-2015 program (GA 680507), and is coordinated by research institute SINTEF. Elkem’s overall budget in REE4EU is approximately 1.5 mill EUR.