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REEcycle

REEcycle reclaims rare earth elements (REEs) locked inside of neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets from disposed of HDDs, creating a secondary, sustainable supply of REEs. REEcycle provides security for North American, European and Japanese manufacturers who are all entirely dependent on China for these critical materials. A domestic supply of REEs creates the foundation needed for the production of new and existing innovations in clean energy technologies, personal electronics, and national defense systems.

Mission

To create a secondary, sustainable supply of rare earth elements, allowing security in clean energy, electronics, and national defense manufacturing.

Technology and Systems

REEcycle’s innovative process produces rare earths in a cost effective and environmentally friendly way from e-waste. Rare earths found in NdFeB magnets are not readily attainable in high concentrations outside of China. Currently, the only source for REEs are rare earth mines, which take up to twelve years to start and result in radioactive waste. REEcycle’s concentrate, lacking contaminants, including iron, thorium and other elements found in ore, reduces the time and cost of production for customers.

Business Strategy

REEcycle has two main operations; HDD break down and REE reclamation. Its primary strategy is to create value out of electronic waste, while also capturing the rare earth containing NdFeB magnets. REEcycle profits from non-magnet HDD materials which are sorted and sold for greater value than current methods of disposal. The rare earths extracted from the magnets are then sold to rare earth separation and purification companies that handle the type of rare earth concentrate REEcycle produces.

Market

The global REE market was valued at nearly $4.1 billion. This market is increasing at a 13% CAGR and is expected to approach $11 billion by 2020. Although there are seventeen rare earth elements, REEcycle is primarily focused on only two, Nd and Dy. Nd and Dy amount to 35% and 50% of the total market in terms of use and value respectively. This market growth is largely attributed to the increasing applications for NdFeB magnets. Both Nd and Dy were placed on the DOE’s list of critical materials, due to their impact on clean energy technologies, and projected supply shortages.

The separation and purification market, which services the REE mining industry, is the initial target market for REEcycle’s product, Nd/Dy oxide concentrates. REO concentrates from mines are commonly sent to these types of facilities before being converted into rare earth metals. REEcycle is introducing a familiar material obtained from a unique source, disposed of NdFeB magnets, allowing for broader acceptance within the existing REE supply chain.

Management

REEcycle’s technology was developed at the University of Houston by Dr. Allen Jacobson and Dr. Pradeep Samarasekere. Since August 2013, the founders, Casey McNeil and Susan Bohuslav, have been working to build relationships within the electronics and REE industries to bring REEcycle to market. REEcycle has obtained an exclusive, worldwide license to the IP from the University of Houston. In addition, Ron Dunbar, serves as REEcycle’s lead engineer, developing the pilot plant at the University of Houston ERP.