MagREEsource, a spin-off of the CNRS-Institut Néel based in Grenoble, France, aims to reindustrialise the French permanent magnet industry with its hydrogen recycling process and innovative technologies for manufacturing new magnets. Already awarded with BPI France Recovery Plan in 2020, the company has announced €5 million in financing and the opening of its first pilot facility in Grenoble.
The permanent magnet market is at the heart of several strategic issues: while demand is growing in line with sustainability needs, China has retained its monopoly on production, accounting for 95% of neodymium production and 85% of permanent magnet production based on rare earths. With the first agreement resulting from the European Commission’s Fit for 55 programme requiring 100% electric cars in Europe by 2035, and the REPowerEU plan further accelerating the deployment of renewable energies, particularly wind power, the mining of rare earths worldwide will not be sufficient, leading to an increase in production costs, or even a shortage of magnets before 2030.
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In an effort to ensure its own supply and the strategic autonomy of European manufacturers, MagREEsource has developed an innovative and clean technology for recycling end-of-life magnets with hydrogen, in order to recover a powder that can be directly reused for the manufacture of new magnets with a carbon footprint reduced by 91% compared to those produced by Chinese mining extraction.
This first 50-ton-per-year industrial pilot is expected to be operational in the second half of 2023 and will manufacture high- performance sintered magnets from recycled material, using MagREEsource’s patented hydrogen technology.
“With the ambition to open a MagFactory in 2027 with a capacity of 500 tons, we demonstrate that reindustrialisation and circular economy can solve a problem of sovereignty,” stated Erick Petit, CEO and co-founder of MagREEsource.
Maenhout, Investment Director at Finindus, added, “MagREEsource is a forerunner in the recycling of rare earth magnets, an essential component for the electrification of our society. The company’s technology and vision fit perfectly into the framework defined by the European Green Deal. They provide a clear response to the call-to-action launched by ERMA – the European Critical Materials Alliance – to ensure Europe’s access to the critical raw materials needed to achieve carbon neutrality.”