Maximising circular economy strategies for rare earth elements supply

▴ Newcastle University
Newcastle University's collaborative study reveals circular economy strategies could significantly boost the low-carbon global transition and make sure that Rare Earth Elements (REE) last longer.

February 27, 2024: Rare earth elements (REEs) are inherently scarce and limited in availability. In a groundbreaking study co-led by the Newcastle University, researchers have introduced a novel integrated model that assesses how circular economy approaches can transform the global supply chains of critical rare earth elements like neodymium, dysprosium, and terbium. According to their analysis, implementing circular economy strategies could result in a substantial 701 kt increase in secondary supply and a corresponding 2,306 kt decrease in demand over the next three decades.

 

REEs play a pivotal role in the production of various technologies crucial for low-carbon energy and transportation systems. Due to the restricted output from conventional REE mines, circular economy strategies have emerged as potential remedies for addressing supply chain challenges. Despite this, the precise impacts of such strategies on the global REE supply and demand landscape have remained largely unclear.

 

In response to this knowledge gap, an international research team, including Newcastle University, has devised an integrated model to probe the intricate connections between REEs and climate commitments. The model aims to quantify the potential of circular economy strategies in reshaping the global supply chains of REEs.

 

Study author, Professor Oliver Heidrich, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at Newcastle University School of Engineering, said, “Our study does shed important light on the demands and supplies and provides a good understanding of the geopolitical dynamics, climate goals, and how the natural resources could be used for political gains.”

 

The study's findings highlight a significant discrepancy between in-ground reserves, supply, and demand at both regional and element-specific levels. The mismatch in the supply of heavy rare earth elements emerges as a critical barrier to achieving net-zero emission targets.

 

Reshaping global REE supply chains

 

Reduction, substitution, reuse, and recycling are just a few of the circular economy tactics that the report emphasises are critical in changing the global supply chains for rare earth elements. Within the next three decades, the use of these tactics will increase the supply of REE from urban mines, which can greatly lessen the reliance on mining REE. The adoption of circular economy ideas could also lead to a closed-loop supply of REEs in some areas, such as the EU.

 

Researchers from the Institute of Urban Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, Newcastle University, Leiden University in the Netherlands, and other institutions participated in the study, which was published and featured on the cover of Nature Geoscience.

 

Professor Oliver Heidrich added,  “Our model considers both in-ground stocks and in-use stocks, as well as their quite dramatic geographic shift across ten regions from 2001 to 2050 under three widely accepted climate scenarios. ”

The findings can serve as the scientific basis for international cooperation in promoting the circular economy strategies of REE for global and just low-carbon transitions.

 

Reference

 

Wang, P., Yang, YY., Heidrich, O. et al. Regional rare-earth element supply and demand balanced with circular economy strategies. Nat. Geosci. (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-023-01350-9

 

ABOUT NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY: Newcastle University, UK, is a thriving international community of more than 28,000 students from over 130 countries worldwide. As a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities in the UK, Newcastle has a world-class reputation for research excellence in the fields of medicine, science and engineering, social sciences and the humanities. Its academics are sharply focused on responding to the major challenges facing society today. Our research and teaching are world-leading in areas as diverse as health, culture, technology and the environment. Newcastle University is committed to providing our students with excellent, research-led teaching delivered by dedicated and passionate teachers. Newcastle University is ranked 110th  in the QS World Ranking 2024 and 139th in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2023.

Tags : #

About the Author


Team Medicircle

Related Stories

Loading Please wait...

-Advertisements-




Trending Now

Empowering India's Youth: IG Drones & AASSC Launch Drone Skill Program, to Upskill 10M YouthApril 17, 2024
Autonomix Medical Inc. Covered in Benzinga Article Highlighting Innovative Nerve Treatment TechnologyApril 17, 2024
Top 5 online learning platform for learnersApril 17, 2024
Broad-Spectrum RNA Vaccine Breakthrough for Enhanced Virus ProtectionApril 17, 2024
The Impact of Excessive Internet Usage on School Absence: Finnish Study Reveals Key FindingsApril 17, 2024
Uncovering Delhi's Illegal Fertility Centre Operations: Insights from Recent Child Trafficking CasesApril 17, 2024
CarDekho's CSR Arm Girnar Foundation Hosts Health Check-up Camps for Underprivileged Children in Jaipur and GurugramApril 16, 2024
Atal Incubation Centre – Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (AIC-CCMB) signs agreement for placement of equipment with Thermo Fisher Scientific to help advance innovation in India April 16, 2024
AVEKSHA, four-day care centres, for the kids of industrial workers inauguratedApril 16, 2024
Nearly a third of the constituencies have zero women candidates in Phase 1 and 2 of LS Elections; reveals The Quantum Hub’s Factsheet April 16, 2024
Emergency Healthcare Provider Medulance Secures $3 Million Series A Funding Led by Alkemi Growth CapitalApril 16, 2024
The Healing Power of Natural Diversity: How Nature Boosts Mental HealthApril 16, 2024
Unveiling Cellular Recycling: How Nutrient-Starved Cells Adapt to Stressful ConditionsApril 16, 2024
Advancing Cancer Care: AIIMS Bhopal’s Workshop on Biomarker Interpretation in Breast CancerApril 15, 2024
10 Powerful Benefits to Diversify Healthcare Advertising ChannelsApril 15, 2024
Understanding Hospital Sink Contamination: Challenges in Fighting Multidrug-Resistant BacteriaApril 15, 2024
Rajasthan’s Swine Flu Situation: Health Department Observes DeclineApril 15, 2024
Is Your Doctor’s Prescription Incomplete ? Insights from Recent ICMR Study Suggests So!April 13, 2024
Ministry of Health Dispels Misinformation on Medicine Price Surge from April 1April 13, 2024
India’s First Indigenous CAR T-Cell Therapy Launched By President Droupadi Murmu: A New Hope in Cancer TreatmentApril 12, 2024