Ionic liquid a perfect fit for rare earth recycling

Jonathan Midgley writes about a hot Green Chemistry article for Chemistry World

Chemists in Belgium have shown how an intriguing ionic liquid they developed 10 years ago can recover valuable rare earth metals from stockpiles of used fluorescent lamps and magnets.

Rare earth metals are important in high tech applications, but China controls most of the world’s dwindling supply, periodically setting export quotas and driving up prices. They occur naturally elsewhere, but new production is time consuming and costly to establish.

Image of a lightbulb emerging from blue liquid
It is estimated that by 2020 stockpiled lamp phosphor waste will contain around 25,000 tons of rare earths

Read the full article in Chemistry World»

Read the  journal articles in Green Chemistry:

Rare-earth recycling using a functionalized ionic liquid for the selective dissolution and revalorization of Y2O3:Eu3+ from lamp phosphor waste
David Dupont and Koen Binnemans 
Journal Article
Green Chem., 2015,17, 856-868
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC02107J, Paper
Open Access

Recycling of rare earths from NdFeB magnets using a combined leaching/extraction system based on the acidity and thermomorphism of the ionic liquid [Hbet][Tf2N]
David Dupont and Koen Binnemans  
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5GC00155B, Paper
Free to access until 7 May 2015

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