—Ionic Liquid Helps Recycle Rare Earths “Liquid-liquid extraction separates rare-earth metal ions from transition metals and could serve as a method to recycle magnets” Rare-earth magnets are indispensable components in computer hard drives, wind turbines, audio speakers, and electric vehicles. Because of the insecure supply chain and price fluctuations of rare-earth metals, scientists are interested in developing efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly methods for recycling magnets to recover the metals. Tom Vander Hoogerstraete, Koen Binnemans, and coworkers at the University of Leuven, in Belgium, have come up with such a method, one that relies on extracting the metals with an ionic liquid (Green Chem., DOI: 10.1039/c3gc40198g). A common way to separate metal ions is by liquid-liquid extraction of acidic aqueous solutions of dissolved metal ions with an organic solvent containing an extraction agent.
by Stephen K. Ritter |
March 25, 2013