Rare Earth - Rare earth metals


The Department of Processig and Recycling is part of the new Siemens research section (S-FB) „Rare Earth – Green Mining and Separation“ at the RWTH Aachen.

Siemens and the RWTH Aachen are implementing the first external ‚Siemens research section‘ worldwide together. Siemens is providing a total of six million Euro for this challenging research project over a period of four years. Within the scope of this project, six Professors as well as experts of Siemen's industry sector are involved and at least ten Doctorates are to be completed within the Siemens research section which began on 1st January 2012.

„A cooperation of this scale with such a challenging research program is also a premiere for the RWTH which is accustomed to such industrial cooperation. I am very pleased that Siemens and the RWTH have been able to initiate this step of cooperation‘, said Prof. Dr. Ernst Schmachtenberg, Rector of the RWTH said when signing the contract at the end of October 2011.

The materials defined under the term ‚rare earth‘ are important raw materials in key technologies and high-tech products. Siemens AG also uses metals of rare earth elements for a range of products, for example in industrial drives, generators in wind turbines or modern medical equipment.

  Logo of Siemens research section

In the processes currently applied for excavation, mining and recycling of rare earths there is considerable potential for optimization with regard to sustainability and long-term ecological compatibility. To ensure a sustainable and sufficient supply of such materials, that are essential for the high-tech industry, focus must be placed not only on deposits, but also on the processes and methods of mining. These highly topical issues are now being handled by Siemens and the RWTH in the new common research section. The objective is to develop methods and processes for the environmentally friendly and efficient provision of rare earths for permanent magnets.

Within the scope of the research project the Department of Processig and Recycling will handle the recycling of metals of rare earth elements from complex components.