High quality rare earth products
REEtec has developed a completely new and game changing process for manufacturing of high purity rare earth elements (REE). The company has proven the technology through a successful operation of a pilot unit, and has now completed an industrial scale demo-plant which is up and running at Herøya Industrial Park close to Porsgrunn, Norway.
The development of REEtec’s novel technology derives from an innovative, Norwegian chemistry community which through dedicated research has succeeded in bringing this new technology forward. The process combines high efficiency and competitive cost structure with best in class environmentally friendliness.
This means that REEtec recovers and reutilizes virtually all consumables in the production process. The energy demand is very low and electricity consumption is based 100 % on hydro-electric sources. REEtec’s technology allows us to produce high quality products with a much smaller impact on the environment than any conventional rare earth separation process.
REEtec offers high quality rare earth products. The portfolio covers most of the rare earth oxides and nitrates, and at various purity levels. All products are extensively analyzed and documented.
Herøya Industrial Park. Photo by Tom Riis
REEtec has successfully scaled the technology from laboratory to industrial production. Based on the experience gathered from running a pilot unit for four years, the company has completed an industrial scale demo unit at Herøya Industrial Park which is currently in operation. The project is receiving support from the Norwegian Research Council and Innovation Norway.
Herøya Industrial Park is the perfect location for REEtec, with its industrial infrastructure, industrial partners and sub-contractors, local skills and services readily available.
Industrial co-operation with fertilizer giant Yara and customers
A project to extract rare earth elements at Yara’s fertilizer plant next door to REEtec at Herøya has been established. The research and innovation project called, SecREEts, which is a partnership between the two Norwegian companies and the research institute SINTEF, has been granted EUR 12,5 million in support under the EU Horizon 2020 program. The goal is to ensure a sustainable, stable and safe extraction and processing of rare earth elements.
The 650 000 tons phosphate rock used annually in Yara’s production contains rare earth elements which now ends up in the fertilizer – where they have no function. The plan is to extract these rare earth elements during the fertilizer production process at Yara. The resulting concentrate will then be separated by REEtec into high purity rare earth elements and hence creating value from an unused resource.
Other leading European REE companies participate in this project. UK based Less Common Metals (LCM) will produce metals and alloys from the oxides delivered by REEtec, and German, Vacuumschmelze (VAC), will use LCM alloys in their production of permanent magnets. Participating customers that will test magnets produced by VAC are Siemens, GE Health Care, and Grace.
Production of rare earths with raw materials sourced from Yara has started
The two teams involved in the SecREEts project, from left Vibeke Rasmussen and Mohan Menon, Yara Technology Center and Toril Roberg and Sigve Sporstøl, REEtec. Photo by Siri Krohn-Fagervoll, Herøya Industripark
As of late August 2020, REEtec has commenced production of rare earths at Herøya utilizing raw material from Yara’s production stream. This production is completely unique and the only one in Europe.
Yara Technology has scaled up a plant from lab that can now handle larger volumes. The process extracts a concentrate of rare earths from Yara’s industrial production flow. The concentrate is then sent over to REEtec where it is separated into individual rare earths.
– This is a milestone for us and for the EU project, SecREEts, we are part of, says Sigve Sporstøl, CEO of REEtec. – We literally borrow production streams from Yara and send streams of rare earths back into the value chain. We believe this is a circular industry in practice and is well placed in the environmental accounts.
Mining raw materials is an essential part of the cost picture, so potentially there is a cost-effective value chain by making better use of the Yara material.