HyProMag’s strategy is to establish recycling facilities for NdFeB magnets at Tyseley in Birmingham and other locations to provide a sustainable solution for the supply of NdFeB magnets and alloy powders for a wide range of markets including, for example, automotive and electronics. A number of product options are being evaluated including hydrogen decrepitated (HD) demagnetised powders suitable for magnet producers, alloy ingot remelted from HD powders suitable for alloy feed or magnet production, anisotropic alloy powders (HDDR) for bonded magnets and sintered NdFeB magnets.
The founding directors of HyProMag, comprising the late Professor Emeritus Rex Harris, former Head of the Magnetic Materials Group (“MMG”), Professor Allan Walton, current Head of the MMG, and two Honorary Fellows, Dr John Speight and Mr David Kennedy, are leading world experts in the field of rare earth magnetic materials, alloys and hydrogen technology, and have significant industry experience. Following the investment by Maginito, HyProMag appointed William Dawes, a Director of Maginito and Chief Executive Officer of Mkango, to the Board of HyProMag.
The MMG within the School of Metallurgy and Materials at the University of Birmingham (“UoB”) has been active in the field of rare earth alloys and processing of permanent magnets using hydrogen for over 40 years. Originated by the late Professor Rex Harris, the hydrogen decrepitation method, which is used to reduce NdFeB alloys to a powder, is now ubiquitously employed in worldwide magnet processing.
In a further development, the MMG patented a process for extracting and demagnetising NdFeB powders from magnets embedded in redundant equipment using hydrogen in a process called HPMS. This patent and related intellectual property is at the core of HyProMag’s business. The MMG continues to develop new research and development opportunities, cooperates widely in Europe, including major EU projects, SusMagPro and REEsilience, which are also focused on recycling of magnets. In November 2021, HyProMag established a subsidiary in Germany, HyProMag GmbH, to rollout commercialisation of HPMS technology into Germany and Europe, and to further support Government initiatives to strengthen European rare earth supply chains and accelerate the green transition. HyProMag GmbH, is 80% owned by HyProMag Limited and 20% owned by Professor Carlo Burkhardt of Pforzheim University in Germany, co-ordinator of the abovementioned SusMagPro project.
The directors of HyProMag all provide their expertise to the MMG and there is potential for HyProMag to gain possible future access to new intellectual property. Technology development is supported by a number of Government grant funded projects.
HyProMag, European Metal Recycling Limited and UoB recently completed the REAP project (Rare-Earth Extraction from Audio Products). EMR is a global leader in metal recycling, operating at 150 locations around the world, and the largest automotive recycler in the UK. EMR pre-processed automotive and flat screen TV loudspeaker scrap to provide a feed of scrap components containing NdFeB magnets to HyProMag. HyProMag used the HPMS process in conjunction with the UoB to extract the magnets as a demagnetised alloy powder, which was then successfully used in the remanufacture of magnets.
HyProMag also leads the Innovate UK grant funded project, “Rare-Earth Recycling for E-Machines” (“RaRE”) with partners UoB Advanced Electric Machines Research Limited, Bentley Motors Limited, Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions Limited and Unipart Powertrain Applications Limited.
HyProMag is collaborating with Mkango Rare Earths UK, Bowers & Wilkins (“B&W Group”), European Metal Recycling ("EMR"), GKN Automotive Innovation Centre (“GKN Automotive"), Jaguar Land Rover and University of Birmingham (“UoB”) in the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge at UK Research and Innovation grant funded project, “Secure Critical Rare Earth Magnets for UK” (SCREAM) project.
SCREAM will establish a recycled source of rare earth magnets in the UK to provide greater security of supply to UK industry, whilst aiming to achieve a 10% reduction in cost and a significant reduction in environmental impact, with an estimated 88% less energy for short loop (i.e. magnet to magnet) recycled magnets versus primary mining to separation to metal alloy to magnet production
The Project includes pilot plants for short loop recycling, encompassing scrap pre-processing, HPMS (Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap) and production of recycled sintered magnets, as well as for complementary recycling routes, namely remelting and strip casting to produce neodymium, iron, and boron (“NdFeB”) alloys as well as chemical processing
Mkango UK’s role in the Project is to establish a pilot plant in the UK to chemically process recycled HPMS NdFeB powder and magnet swarf (i.e. the powder produced from grinding and finishing magnets) from a range of scrap sources including electronic waste, electric motors and wind turbines, complementing the short loop magnet recycling routes being developed in parallel
HyProMag will work with UoB to develop a new semi continuous version of the HPMS process and to produce short loop recycled sintered magnets at multiple grades to match the requirements for a range of applications
For more information, please visit https://hypromag.com/