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Honda announces World’s First Process to Reuse Rare Earth Metals Extracted from Nickel-metal Hydride Batteries for Hybrid Vehicles


Honda 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. 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. The new process enables the extraction of as much as above 80% of rare earth metals contained in nickel-metal hydride battery.

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Under the newly established process, the extracted rare earth metals will be supplied from JMC to a battery manufacturer in early March, which will reuse them as negative-electrode materials for nickel-metal hydride batteries for hybrid vehicles. This time, the rare earth metals were extracted from nickel-metal hydride batteries collected from 386 Honda hybrid vehicles that were stored prior to being on sale but became unusable by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Further, as soon as a sufficient volume is secured, Honda will begin applying the same process and recycle rare earth metals extracted from used nickel-metal hydride batteries collected by Honda dealers through battery replacement.

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