Rare earth metals company Pensana Plc, headquartered in London, UK, has signed a cooperation agreement with energy provider Equinor New Energy Limited for recycling end-of-life magnets at Pensana’s rare earth hub in Saltend Chemicals Park, Yorkshire, UK. The joint working group will share technical and commercial information on the use of hydrogen in a low-energy method for recycling permanent magnets.
“We are establishing a world-class, independent and sustainable, rare earth processing facility at Saltend Chemicals Park,” commented Paul Atherley, Pensana’s chairman. “We are also looking to process end-of-life magnets from wind turbine nacelles using hydrogen’s properties as a powerful reductant. We very much look forward to working with Equinor using hydrogen from the H2H Saltend project in establishing this innovative process route as a key component in the circular economy for rare earth magnets in the UK.”
Recycling permanent magnets utilising hydrogen not as fuel, but as a reductant, whilst benefitting from the decarbonised power supply within Saltend, will use 88% less energy than virgin magnet manufacture.
The partnership with Equinor is said to support Pensana’s commitment to the circular economy, as it looks to recycle an addressable annual market of 4,000 tonnes of end-of-life permanent magnets.
Equinor has submitted plans for its ‘Hydrogen to Humber (H2H) Saltend’ hydrogen production facility into phase two of the UK Government’s Cluster Sequencing Process. The facility will be supported by the potential supply of hydrogen to Pensana and other regional hydrogen users.