The test aims to enable practical application of the new process by mid-2020. The auto industry is working to promote vehicle electrification to tackle climate change and achieve a carbon neutral society.
Most motors in electrified vehicles use neodymium magnets, which contain rare earth metals such as neodymium and dysprosium.
Reducing the use of rare earth elements is important because of the environmental impact of mining and refining, and because the shifting balance between supply and demand leads to price fluctuations for both manufacturers and consumers.
In order to use limited and valuable resources more effectively, Nissan has been working since 2010 from the design stage to reduce the amount of heavy rare earth elements in its engine magnets.
In addition, Nissan recycles rare earth elements by removing magnets from engines that do not meet production standards and returning them to suppliers.
Multiple steps are currently being followed, including manual disassembly and removal. Therefore, developing a simpler and more economical process is important to achieve increased recycling in the future.
Nissan made a more thermally efficient engine
Nissan wants to take advantage of electric car engines
Since 2017, the company has been collaborating with Waseda University, which has a proven track record of researching non-ferrous metals recycling and smelting.
In March 2020, the collaboration successfully developed a thermoplastic extraction process that does not require engine disassembly.
Testing showed that this process could recover 98 percent of the engines’ rare earth elements.
This method also reduces the recovery process and working time by about 50 percent compared to the current method because there is no need to remove the magnet or remove and disassemble it.
Waseda and Nissan are continuing large-scale facility testing with the aim of developing practical applications.
The company collects engines from electrified vehicles that are recycled and continues to develop its recycling system.
The company continues to contribute to building a cleaner, safer and inclusive society as part of its efforts to develop a sustainable society.
Through its Green 2022 programme, the company is addressing four priority problems: climate change, resource dependence, air quality and water scarcity.
The company continues to target carbon neutrality and non-use of new material resources. At the same time, it promotes the use of electrified vehicles and recycling and reduces the use of economic entities.
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