Optimized shredding conditions enables improvement in leaching time for REEs in end-of-life hard disk drives (HDDs)

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Shredder customized to optimize conditions for recovering rare earth elements from end-of-life hard disk drives
Shredder customized to optimize conditions for recovering rare earth elements from end-of-life hard disk drives

CMI scientists at Ames Laboratory contributed to this research.

Achievement:

A HDD shredder designed to result in optimally shredded feedstock for acid-free dissolution and also minimize the amount of magnets attached to the cutters during shredding has been commissioned. Consequently, only ~60% of the original leaching time is required and a dissolution efficiency of ≥72% wt.% was obtained for HDDs.

Significance and Impact:

Optimal shredding is critical for application of the acid-free dissolution process: (a) enables selective dissolution of magnets, rather than other components; (b) enhances the opportunity to recover valuable byproducts.

Next Steps:

  • Begin the process of scaling the application of the technology for e-wastes and revising the TEA.
  • Control the recycling process to result in ≥80 wt.% recovery efficiency.
rare earth elements recovered using acid-free dissolution process developed at Ames Laboratory, leached from optimized shredded feedstock of end-of-life hard disk drives
Rare earth elements recovered using acid-free dissolution process developed at Ames Laboratory, leached from optimized shredded feedstock of end-of-life hard disk drives