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McGill team develops method to extract Nd from electronic waste

Researchers at McGill University have developed a sustainable and cost-effective neodymium (Nd) extraction technology from electronic waste using a carboxylate functionalized nanocellulose (CFNC). An open-access paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Green Chemistry.

We demonstrate a solution-processed synthesis of CFNC from a cost-effective, readily available cellulose precursor without harsh conditions or complicated procedures. We show that Nd precipitates as Nd-CFNC complex, which can be easily separated from the solution by centrifugation.

As low as 150 ppm of Nd3+ concentration is sufficient to form the precipitate instantaneously. We observe the removal of ∼252 ± 5 mg of Nd3+ per gram of CFNC, which, to our knowledge, provides the highest removal capacity at the shortest contact time of a few seconds.

… As a real-time application, we demonstrate Nd recovery from a NdFeB magnet present in waste electronic equipment. The removal using CFNC is speedy, efficient, and selective. Solar-driven electrodeposition is used to recover Nd/Nd2O3. We envision that our material will provide a low-cost, promising, sustainable technology for removing other RREs from e-waste, mines, and industrial wastewater.

—Bose et al.


Comparison of removal capacity of CFNC materials with other adsorbents reported in the literature. Bose et al.


  • Sandeep Bose, Benilde Mizero and Parisa A. Ariya (2024) “Neodymium recovery from NdFeB magnets: a sustainable, instantaneous, and cost-effective method” Green Chemistry doi: 10.1039/D3GC03756H


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