• Apr 18, 2012
The supply of rare earth metals used in the manufacture of nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries and permanent magnet motors that are found in most hybrids has been somewhat uncertain the past few years, what with China's lock on the supply and its recent policy of limiting exports. While there are a number of possible solutions and workarounds, Honda is tackling the problem using an approach we can heartily endorse: recycling.

With its partner Japan Metals & Chemicals, the automaker is about to begin a program that would see the battery packs from its hybrids collected by its dealers around the globe and returned to have the rare earth recovered from the used packs. The company had previously been using a heat process to get nickel back from the batteries, but a new process can help them return about 80 percent of rare earth metals as well. The recycled materials will then be used to make more batteries, along with other parts.

Honda plans to broaden the program to include the recycling of other rare-earth containing parts in the future. Make your way past the break for the official press release.
Show full PR text
PRESS RELEASE

Honda to Reuse Rare Earth Metals Contained in Used Parts

As part of this effort, before the end of this month, Honda and Japan Metals & Chemicals will begin extracting rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries collected from Honda hybrid vehicles at Honda dealers inside and outside of Japan. The new operation will be the first in the world to extract rare earth metals as part of a mass-production process at a recycling plant.

Honda had been applying a heat treatment to used nickel-metal hydride batteries and recycling nickel-containing scrap as a raw material of stainless steel. However, the successful stabilisation of the extraction process at the plant of Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd. made possible the extraction of rare earth metals in a mass-production process with purity as high as that of newly mined and refined metals.

The newly established process enables the extraction of as much as above 80% of rare earth metals contained in used nickel-metal hydride batteries. Honda will strive to reuse extracted rare earth metals not only for nickel-metal hydride batteries, but also for a wide range of Honda products. Moreover, Honda will further expand the recycling of rare earth metals in the future as the newly established process enables the extraction of rare earth metals from a variety of used parts in addition to nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Giving consideration to the recycling of resources used for its products, Honda has long been committed to the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) approach. For instance, Honda was the first Japanese automaker to begin sales of recycled parts and to collect/recycle oil filters and replaced bumpers. Honda will continue strengthening its network which links to the reuse and recycling of resources.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      But seriously once Greenland Energy and Minerals (ASX:GGG) with the world's largest REE deposit and Lynas (ASX: LYC) and Alkane (ASX: ALK) come into production there will not be much of a shortage. ASX:GGG alone will be able to supply the market with huge volumes of the heavy REEs produced at a very low cost for many decades. Whilst LYC will be in production by 2013 and Alkane with its hundred year mine life DZP project will have the world's richest heavy rare earths mine up and running by ~2014. Canada also has several projects that should come online within the next few years as well. Consequently recycling may be a non-cost effective option.... time will tell.
      Nick
      • 1 Day Ago
      I thought the toxic EV batteries would end up in landfills and pollute everything *whine* *whine*. /sarcasm
        EZEE
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Nick
        '.....is about to begin....'. What was going on before now? I am kinda shocked that they had not prior. Now we have to ask Toyota and Ford.... Dudes? Batteries?
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Nick
        Most new EVs don't even use such toxic batteries. This is for old school NiMH batteries.
          EZEE
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          I think in all cases they should be recycled. With the lithium ones, don't you sorta half to? Is lithium, in the form used in these batteries, still reactive (or as 2 wheel put it, 'all explodey?). No, not making a volt reference, lithium is on the far left of the periodic table. It wants that octet really bad....hence, explodey.
      GoodCheer
      • 1 Day Ago
      From the article: "The company had previously been using a heat process to get nickel back from the batteries, (...)" In other words, they were already collecting and recycling NiMH batteries, but now they will be increasing the mass fraction recycled, by increasing the number of elements reused.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice, but any news on the Sportster EV?
      marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Any recycling is good news ! Although, the issue of Rare Earth control by the PRC, is not far from being resolved. several large mining companies have developed a highly mechanised method of rare earth extraction. This would permit economic mining in Australia and other places where vast deposits of rare earths have been located, eliminating the PRC monopoly.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      We might very well be on the cusp of asteroid mining for rare earth (and other) metals... Elon Musk could be the father of several new industries simultaneously! " Join visionary Peter H. Diamandis, M.D.; leading commercial space entrepreneur Eric Anderson; former NASA Mars mission manager Chris Lewicki; and planetary scientist & veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones, Ph.D. on Tuesday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. PDT in Seattle, or via webcast, as they unveil a new space venture with a mission to help ensure humanity’s prosperity. Supported by an impressive investor and advisor group, including Google’s Larry Page & Eric Schmidt, Ph.D.; film maker & explorer James Cameron; Chairman of Intentional Software Corporation and Microsoft’s former Chief Software Architect Charles Simonyi, Ph.D.; Founder of Sherpalo and Google Board of Directors founding member K. Ram Shriram; and Chairman of Hillwood and The Perot Group Ross Perot, Jr., the company will overlay two critical sectors – space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources’." http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/04/18/space-firm-about-to-make-a-big-announcement-i-take-a-stab-at-what-it-is/ (anxiously awaiting Dan F's interpretation of what the Greys think about this)
        marcopolo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        @ Letstakeawalk (anxiously awaiting Dan F's interpretation of what the Greys think about this) Well, since DF is only an Honorary Consul, it might take some time for him to obtain an official reply....
      Robyn
      • 1 Day Ago
      Want to start making some extra incomé every month? You can... For more information, visit following website http://www.LazyCash39.com .....Your extra incomé is just a click away... Don't miss it
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Japan is not happy about being so dependent on China for raw materials and thus is doing what it can to minimize the dependency.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Spec
        Well, the good thing is that they've found a decent business case for recycling the stuff. Even if the motive isn't all that great, i'm glad it's happening .
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Day Ago
      @Ezee What baffles me about aliens zooming about in UFO's, is why do the always pick on some slack-jawed yokel, in Roadkill, Omaha ? Or weird neurotic females with bad hair cuts and bespectacled nerdy little guys with close set eyes, living with their parents in Denmark ?. Why?
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      First the article on the cost savings of BEV's across the US and now this? I am a happy camper.
      EZEE
      • 1 Day Ago
      Are we talking the short, blocky greys, or the tall slim ones....the ones with the eyes? They are the ones that are all nice and 'we come in peace' and that prattle, the the short stocky ones have....well....the Probes.... Like, 'haven't you guys learned all you can learn fromTHAT type of probe? Jeez.'
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      You mean they hadn't already....?
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