Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No. 149: Recycle rare earthes contained in nickel hydride battery (August 31, 2010)

Mitsui Mining And Smelting will address the system to extract rare earthes from nickel hydride battery mounted on the hybrid car. Mixture of rare earthes is said to account for about 30% of the positive-electrode material, and the company plans to collect the mixture and start a new facility in 2014 at the earliest. There is growing concern about China’s export restriction of rare earthes, and it has become an urgent task for Japan to diversity the source of supply. What Mitsui plans to extract is misch metal, mixture of rare earthes, which is made up of lanthanum and neodymium. After crushing nickel hydride battery to pieces, the system extracts misch metal with other materials including nickel after separating impurities with the help of nonferrous smelting technology. The company already established the technology to extract more than 98% of misch metal. Nickel and cobalt collected from the positive-electrode material will be recycled as the material for battery.

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