Supplying these vast quantities of minerals in a sustainable manner will be a significant challenge, but scientists are exploring a variety of ways to provide materials for the energy transition with less harm to people and the planet.
Researchers at the Critical Materials Institute of Ames National Laboratory are also studying magnet substitutes. They have developed ways of predicting which materials have the potential to be made into magnets. They identify those with some attraction to a magnetic field, then add alloys to turn the materials into permanent magnets. The scientists found that this process could make forms of cerium cobalt (cerium is an abundant rare earth element) capable of substituting for neodymium and dysprosium used in the strongest rare earth magnets.
In addition to CMI, this story on energy transition and rare earth elements mentions several CMI partners:
- CMI Team Member Purdue University's work on recycling coal ash to recover rare earths.
- Exploration in Wyoming by American Rare Earths, which owns CMI Team Member Western Rare Earths.
- CMI Affiliate MP Materials's work to create a supply chain for REE.
Link to the complete story: The energy transition will need more rare earth elements. Can we secure them sustainably?