Electrochemical recycling of rare earth elements from electronic waste

Themes: Materials, Social Impact

Early lab scale demonstration

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are listed by the European Union as the most critical metals due to high supply risk and increasing demand. Mining of these metals adversely affects the environment. Recovering REEs from waste is therefore imperative.


REEs are selectively extracted from magnet waste at room temperature without net acid consumption. The process is an environmentally friendly alternative to high temperature roasting and unselective leaching processes.


Lab scale demonstrations have been successfully completed. Legislators could reduce dependency on foreign industries by initiating dedicated collection of scrap magnets and funding further research.

Prakash Venkatesan MSc


Dr. Yongxiang Yang

Prof. dr. ir. Jilt Sietsma