Energy efficient circular economy of critical raw materials
In the GENESIS joint project, the potential of an energy-efficient recycling economy is to be demonstrated using the example of NdFeB magnetic materials and tool steels. Both material systems were selected because they contain high levels of critical elements such as neodymium, dysprosium, tungsten and molybdenum. In order to counteract existing supply bottlenecks, substitute elements can be used on the one hand, which lead to similar properties of the materials used. On the other hand, by recycling the raw materials used, the partly critical elements and thus cost-intensive raw materials can be kept in the material cycle, which is the focus of this project.
The demand for magnetic materials is increasing in areas such as electromobility and energy generation through wind power. In order to counter Germany's high dependence on imports, the research project will investigate the possibility of recycling old magnets. Used magnets are to be prepared in such a way that they can be processed using resource-efficient powder metallurgy methods.
In addition to magnet materials, the joint project will also investigate the reusability of grinding sludge from the material cutting of tool steels. Particular attention will be paid to high-speed steels, which contain high levels of cost-intensive and in some cases critical elements and which, because they are mixed with environmentally critical cooling lubricants, have so far had to be disposed of or landfilled at high cost.
In the project, ANTS will deal with both the comminution of reactive high-performance magnets and the processing of the grinding sludge. In addition, ANTS will evaluate the material cycles implemented in the project according to circular aspects in order to estimate and analyze possible environmentally relevant savings potentials.
The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK). Project partners are Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Forschungszentrum Jülich, WILO SE, August Berghaus, Klaus Kuhn Edelstahlgießerei GmbH, Berger Holding GmbH & Co. KG, GLAMAtronic Schweiß- und Anlagentechnik GmbH, Dr. Fritsch Sondermaschinen GmbH and OWL AM Additive Manufacturing GmbH.