May 09, 2012
Honda in breakthrough rare earths recycling moveBack
Honda Motor Company|IPads|Japan Metals & Chemicals Company|Turbines|China|Japan|CHEMICALS PLANT|Green-energy Devices|Industrial Electronics|Mining|Nickel-metal Hydride Batteries|Vehicle Manufacturer|Turbines
© Reuse this
The recycling process could, in the longer term, appease the current mercurial rare earths supply-demand cycle that depends on the mining of these 15 elements.
Rare earths are used in green-energy devices, such as wind turbines, electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as consumer and industrial electronics, such as iPads and television screens.
China effectively controls the rare earths market as it currently produces around 95% of all rare earths in the world. However, the Asian tiger has been in the habit of trimming export quotas – a move which has alarmed rare earths users, leaving them scrambling to secure supply.
These supply fears, as well as increased demand, have seen rare earths prices soar since the middle of 2010 – and not by single digits.
Honda’s reclamation process is not experimental, says the vehicle manufacturer, with the process rather an actual mass-production method conducted at a recycling plant.
Honda and Japan Metals & Chemicals began extracting rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries in April.
The batteries used in the process are collected from Honda hybrid vehicles at Honda dealers inside and outside of Japan.
The new operation is the first in the world to extract rare-earth metals as part of a mass-production process at a recycling plant.
The successful stabilisation of the extraction process at the Japan Metals & Chemicals plant has made it possible to extract rare earth metals with a purity as high as that of newly mined and refined metals in a mass-production process, says Honda.
The newly established process enables the extraction of more than 80% of rare-earth metals contained in used nickel-metal hydride batteries.
An average nickel-metal hydride battery used in a typical hybrid vehicle contains around 12 kg of rare-earth metals.
Honda is planning to use the extracted rare-earth metals in the manufacturing of new nickel-metal hydride batteries, as well as for a wide range of Honda products.
However, the new process will also allow Honda to expand the recycling of rare-earth metals beyond nickel-metal hydride batteries, states the company.
“This is in line with the company’s long-established commitment to the so-called 3R approach: reduce, reuse and recycle.”
Honda says it was the first Japanese automaker to begin sales of recycled parts and to collect and recycle oil filters and replaced bumpers.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
This Week's Magazine
Updated 3 hours ago The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
Updated 3 hours ago The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
Updated 3 hours ago The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
Updated 3 hours ago AltX-listed engineering technology company Ansys has been awarded an R188-million contract by Transnet to supply integrated dashboard display systems to the freight rail utility’s locomotives. Black-owned and controlled Ansys developed the bespoke integrated system...
Updated 3 hours ago South Africa’s sole nuclear power station Koeberg, which is located in the Western Cape, breached a major operations milestone on April 4, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Unit 1 having been connected to the grid. Eskom, which operates the two-unit plant,...