Bentley Motors has announced a three-year research partnership with the University of Birmingham to establish a renewable supply of rare earth magnets for electric and hybrid cars with one of the world's most prestigious luxury car brands.
The RaRE (Rare-earth Recycling for E-machines) project is a recent U.K.-funded initiative, which includes a range of business partners in comparison to Bentley, with a technology invented by University of Birmingham researchers and now licensed to Spin-off Company HyProMag operating as the backbone. This procedure is referred as Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap (HPMS), and it entails breaking down rare earth metals in obsolete electrical products to separate these from the rest of the junk. Rare earth magnets could be recycled from obsolete disc hard drives and used in ancillary motors for Bentley's electric and hybrid cars. Over current history, the premium automaker has taken small strides towards electrification, unveiling a Bentayga Hybrid in 2018 after a series of electric sports car prototypes.
Rare earth magnets are used in a wide range of electronic instruments, including wind turbine engines to MRI scanners. Moreover, due to their widespread use, only a small percentage of these magnets are recycled after losing their functional properties. However, a recent Bentley Motors initiative aims to change that by repurposing them for use in luxury cars. One of the development's main goals would be to figure out how to scale up the HPMS recycling process so that more neodymium magnets (NdFeB), the most popular rare earth metal, can be made.
Nick Mann, Operations General Manager at HyProMag, says, "RaRE is an ambitious idea and a great chance." ”HyProMag's recycling technologies allow us to manufacture NdFeB magnets with a much lower embedded carbon cost that virgin supply and with independence from Chinese supply, and we're working closely with our main shareholder Mkango Resources to expand the market."