MagREEsource is a French startup that, thanks to its hydrogen-based magnet recycling process, is contributing to reducing the carbon footprint of the green energy industry and guaranteeing Europe’s autonomy in terms of rare earth magnets.
A magnet-to-magnet solution
A CNRS spin-off, MagREEsource – where REE stands for Rare Earth Elements – is developing a circular, eco-friendly solution for the production of rare earth magnets by recycling and refurbishing old magnets. The ambition is to manufacture 500 tonnes of magnets per year within four years.
The Grenoble-based startup has designed a “magnet-to-magnet” solution that enables the production of new magnets from old magnets at a competitive price on French territory. This hydrogen-based transformation process makes it possible to recover rare earth elements without the use of acids.
Overcoming the Chinese monopoly of rare earths
The magnets, made up of 30% rare earths and 70% iron alloys, are present in all electric vehicle motors as well as the wind power, aeronautics, and defence sectors. Currently, only 1% of magnets are recycled. “In 10 years, there will be a shortage of rare earth elements because mining cannot keep pace with demand,” says founder Erick Petit. “And, even sooner, there is the issue of dependence on the Chinese monopoly that controls the entire value chain, from the minerals to electric motors and magnets. Thus, it is strategic to regain the necessary skills and recover the materials at their end-of-life.”
MagREEsource is currently part of the Linksium incubator, a pioneer in the large-scale creation of tech startups in France that were launched by public research. Supported by the French Recovery Plan, the company is set to open a line for the production of 80 tonnes of magnets per year. For the adoption of its products, the company is initially looking to premium markets that require high-performance magnets such as aerospace, robotics, and wind power.
Hydrogen-based and acid-free magnet recycling process
Circular and eco-friendly solution for the production of rare earth magnets
Download and read the Renewable Matter issue #43 on Critical Raw Materials.