Scenario analysis for recovery of rare earth elements from end-of-life vehicles

Xu G.; Yano J.; Sakai S. (2016) Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management, 18(3): 469-482


End-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are increasingly being recognized as a possible future resource pool for rare earth elements (REEs). This study provides the amount of REEs that can be recovered from ELVs in Japan based on dismantling survey, chemical identification and substance flow analysis. The REEs were quantified from common passenger vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. We targeted 17 REEs in estimation of REE contents in ELVs. Four scenarios were developed to explore the recovery of REEs from ELVs. In these scenarios, NiMH batteries and motors containing NdFeB magnets were identified as target components due to they are main REEs carriers; we focused on interpretation of neodymium (Nd) and dysprosium (Dy) owing to they are two of the most critical REEs. The results suggest that 2700 (±500) tons of REEs can be recovered, of which 520 (±100) tons and 31 (±7) tons will be contributed by Nd and Dy in 2030. Meanwhile, the Dy recovered from ELVs can satisfy 23 % (±6 %) of the demand for NdFeB magnets and NiMH battery cells in automobile production of Japan; the Nd recovered from ELVs can satisfy 49 % (±9 %) of the production demands.

published online on March 30, 2016


End-of-life vehicles (ELVs); Rare earth elements (REEs); Scenario analysis; NdFeB magnets; NiMH battery cells