Recycled rare-earth magnets would improve the sustainability of motors
Automaker also hopes to keep more of supply chain close to home
Bentley Motors has announced a new study that it hopes will change the sustainability of electric motors. The automaker is looking to develop a way to extract the magnetic material from waste electronics and turn them into new recyclable magnets for use in future motors.
“As we accelerate our journey to electrification, offering only hybrid or electric vehicles by 2026, and full electric by 2030, it is important that we focus on every aspect of vehicle sustainability, including sustainable methods of sourcing materials and components,” said engineering board member Dr Matthias Rabe.
“RaRE (Rare-earth Recycling for E-machines) promises a step-change in electrical recyclability, providing a source of truly bespoke, low voltage motors for a number of different applications and we are confident the results will provide a basis for fully sustainable electric drives,” he added.
The study builds on work done by the University of Birmingham in finding a method to extract the valuable rare earth magnets used in electric motors and then to scale up the process for mass production. Alongside that work, Bentley is running a project called Octopus that hopes to find a new fully integrated rare-earth-free magnet motor for its electric vehicles.
In addition to sustainability, Bentley and its partners hope that the project will help reduce their dependence on rare earth suppliers in China, allowing more of the process to remain in a UK-based supply chain.