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Honda to begin reuse of rare earth metals extracted from used NiMH batteries before year end; targeting extraction from motors and Li-ion batteries as well

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Flow of the reuse of rare earth metals Honda is striving to achieve. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd., which has been extracting rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries at the plant of Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd. from April of this year, plans to begin reusing the extracted metals before the end of 2012.

Honda will pursue the recycling of precious resources by reusing extracted rare earth metals not only for nickel-metal hydride batteries, but also for use in a wide range of parts. Further, in disassembly process of used nickel-metal hydride batteries, Honda is considering efforts to recover any residual voltage from the used nickel-metal hydride batteries and use it as regenerative voltage for the disassembly process.

Moreover, Honda will strive to recycle rare earth metals extracted from a variety of used parts such as hybrid motors and lithium-ion batteries in addition to nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Concerning the recycling of resources used for its products, Honda has long been committed to the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) approach. Honda has been collecting and recycling bumpers that were removed from the vehicle as a raw material, selling functional used parts as reusable parts, recycling and reselling used oil filters, etc.

Honda says it will continue strengthening its network which links to the reuse and recycling of resources in the effort to reduce the environmental footprint of the mobility society as a whole.

CO2 from product use. Separately, Honda said that it is the first—based on its internal research—global mobility company to disclose estimated global CO2 emissions during customer use of its motorcycles, automobiles and power products.

Global average of the amount of CO2 emitted by Honda products
Product 2020 Targets (vs. FY ended 31 Mar 2001) Progress made during FY ended 31 Mar 2012 (vs. FY ended 31 Mar 2001)
Automobiles per g/km 30% reduction 9.5% reduction
Motorcycles per g/km 30% reduction 24.1% reduction
Power products per kg/hr 30% reduction 13.5% reduction

The amount of global CO2 emissions was calculated based on the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard which was issued by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) Initiative in October 2011. The GHG Protocol Initiative is a project group to develop a guideline for calculating and reporting of GHG emissions led mainly by the partnership between the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute.

The calculation scope matches with the Scope 3 Category 11 (customer use of sold products), where the amount of CO2 emissions is assumed to be the largest from the viewpoint of the life cycle of Honda products. Honda obtained third-party validation of the estimates from Bureau Veritas Japan Co., Ltd., and disclosed them as transparent and reliable information in its 2012 Environmental Annual Report, which Honda just issued. (The English language version is to be issued in September 2012.)



I don't really know what they are talking about.
Neither nickel nor cobalt are a rare earth, although they do contain lanthanum, which is.
AFAIK lithium batteries contain no rare earths at all, although some electric motors do.
The term 'rare earth' seems to be being used interchangeably with anything which is valuable.


Recycling (of all materials) is positive and should be encouraged.

Roger Pham

The only way that our future electromobility will be sustainable at all will be through 100% recycling.


Disk drive motors are a good recycling source of rare earth magnets.


You are mostly correct but Thundersky/Winston LiFePO4 cells do contain trace amounts of Yttrium, (LiFeYPO4).


Two new very large rare earth deposits mines may be in operation in North Eastern Canada by 2016/2017 and could operate for the next 300 years.

Those large rare earth deposits are adjacent to very large/rich iron deposits (30% to 33%), Nickel and Uranium soon to be mined by China and India groups. The existing North-South railroad will have to be extended by about 700 Km to transport the (reduced) ore to deep sea ports on the St-Lawrence Gulf. Combined Hydro/Wind power plants will be built to supply low cost clean e-energy for the extended mining industry operations.

Unless China and Canada form a rare-earth OPEC style marketing organisation (which would be a good idea to keep price as high as possible), the price of rare earth may be going down in the mid to long term.

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