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Title: Economic assessment for recycling critical metals from hard disk drives using a comprehensive recovery process

Since the 2011 price spike of rare earth elements (REEs), research on permanent magnet recycling has blossomed globally to reduce future REE criticality. Hard disk drives (HDDs) have emerged as one feasible feedstock for recovering valuable REEs such as praseodymium, neodymium, and dysprosium. However, current processes for recycling e-waste only focus on certain metals due to feedstock and metal price uncertainties. In addition, some believe that recycling REEs is unprofitable. To shed some light on the economic viability of REE recycling from HDDs, this paper combines techno-economic information of a hydrometallurgical process with end-of-life HDD availability in a simulation model. Results showed that adding REEs to HDD recycling was profitable given current prices. As a result, recovered REEs could meet up to 5.1% rest of world (excluding China) magnet demand. Aluminum, gold, copper scrap and REEs were the primary main revenue streams from HDD recycling.
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  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1047-4838; PII: 2399
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
JOM. Journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 69; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 1047-4838
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; economic viability; HDD recycling; hydrometallurgical process; REE recovery; simulation model
OSTI Identifier: