Honda has established the world ‘s first process to reuse rare earth metals extracted from nickel-metal hydride batteries for new nickel-metal hydride batteries to recycle precious resources, the company announced. So far, Honda has been extracting an oxide containing rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries at the plant of Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd. (JMC).
Now, by applying molten salt electrolysis to this oxide, Honda has succeeded in extracting metallized rare earth that can be used directly as negative-electrode materials for nickel-metal hydride batteries. The rare earth metals extracted in this process has a purity of more than 99% which is as high as that of ordinary traded, newly mined rare earth metals. In addition, the new process enables the extraction of as much as above 80% of rare earth metals contained in nickel-metal hydride battery. Honda will also look to its other products to source the materials from and will seek to expand recycling of rare earth from more metals and not just nickel-metal hydride batteries. Pretty cool stuff and we are glad to see that advances are being made in battery recycling!