University of Oulu

Omodara, L., Pitkäaho, S., Turpeinen, E.-M., Saavalainen, P., Oravisjärvi, K., & Keiski, R. L. (2019). Recycling and substitution of light rare earth elements, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, and praseodymium from end-of-life applications—A review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 236, 117573.

Recycling and substitution of light rare earth elements, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, and praseodymium from end-of-life applications : a review

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Author: Omodara, Linda1; Pitkäaho, Satu1; Turpeinen, Esa-Matti1;
Organizations: 1Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Technology, P.O Box 4300, FI-90014, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2022-11-30


The light rare earth elements (LREEs) lanthanum, cerium, neodymium and praseodymium are increasingly used in renewable energy technology and are applicable in portable electronic devices, such as phosphors in lightning applications and in catalysis. The extraction of REEs from virgin ores causes environmental degradation. LREEs are considered as critical metals. To overcome the environmental and criticality challenges of LREEs, recycling presents means by which they can be obtained from secondary sources. Presently, the recycling rate of LREEs is still very low. Substitutes of LREEs in most cases are either inferior or still undiscovered. This study investigates the criticality challenges and environmental impacts of producing LREEs from virgin ores. It focuses on LREEs obtainable in selected end-of-life products considered to have significant recycling potential; these include NdFeB magnets, Ni-MH batteries, phosphors in lighting and catalysts. Current recycling technologies, including representative methods and current recycling challenges are also reviewed. Although current recycling technologies have recorded growth, there is still a need for further improvements. The article highlights current LREEs substitution advances and the faced challenges in finding suitable LREEs substitutes. Furthermore, future ways to promote sustainability of LREEs recycling, to improve substitution, and to tackle the criticality challenges of LREEs are proposed.

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Series: Journal of cleaner production
ISSN: 0959-6526
ISSN-E: 1879-1786
ISSN-L: 0959-6526
Volume: 236
Article number: 117573
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.07.048
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support from the Technology and Natural Sciences (TNS) Doctoral Programme of the University of Oulu Graduate School, Finland, and K–H Renlund Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http:/