The future of rare earths security may be in the hands of a newly developed recycling technology from Ionic Materials. According to the company’s executive, their innovative technology will secure supply chains for rare earths outside of China.
Ionic Materials is a company based in Marlborough, Massachusetts that specializes in the development and commercialization of polymer-based materials for energy storage. After two years of research and development, the company has turned their attention to the electric vehicle market and rare earths recycling as they believe this will be the next big step in the industry’s development.
Ionic Materials has developed a new material that is able to efficiently fractionate rare earths without the need for hazardous chemicals, high temperatures, or costly processing. This new material will enable the company to recycle rare earth elements out of many of the common electronic waste streams, such as old phones and laptops, batteries, and other discarded consumer products. The material is also able to maintain a high-grade purity of the elements, meaning that they are fit for reuse in new products.
This technology could greatly benefit rare earth supply chains as it provides an opportunity to recycle them from peripheral sources, reducing the need for costly imports from China. Furthermore, this recycling method does not contribute to the environmental issue generated by traditional mining techniques.
Ultimately, Ionic Materials believes that their polymer-based recycling technology has the potential to revolutionize the supply chain for rare earths and create a more reliable and affordable flow of materials. This could be critical for the progress of industries that rely heavily on rare earths, such as the automotive and aerospace industries. Moreover, it may be an important step to ensure the security of rare earths and materials outside of China.