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Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU

VALORIZATION OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM END-OF-LIFE FLUORESCENT LAMPS: A CONTRIBUTION TO URBAN MINING

  • Alessandra Bonoli - Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, University of Bologna, Italy
  • Werter Boninsegni - Dismeco Spa, Italy
  • Eleonora Foschi - Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, University of Bologna, Italy

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Copyright: © 2020 CISA Publisher


Abstract

In last decades, Rare Earth Elements (REEs) have assumed a fundamental importance in the electrical and electronic (EE) industry because of the increasing interest in low-carbon and smart technologies. The availability in limited areas of the globe, the complexity in extraction processes and the high costs affecting their valorization negatively influence the supply chain at such a point to jeopardize the future EE equipment offer. This issue is particularly acute in Europe, that imports all REEs, especially from China, the current leader of the market. In order to contrast that dependence and ensure a stable future demand, industrial stakeholders have started an innovative path aimed to recover REEs from EEE waste. The promotion of policies and measures or circular economy has also boosted the application of urban mining concept. Cities are conceived as reserve of minerals but applied research s still in its infancy. Only 1% of REEs is actually recovered. The contribution of the fluorescent lamps is the most challenging lower because of the presence of hazardous substances, however, it can deliver the highest pure rare-earth oxides. This work represents a preliminary multi-criteria analysis aimed to assess the feasibility of launching an urban mining project based on the valorization of REEs from fluorescent lamps. The article summarizes the activity done by the Italian WEEE company DISMECO in collaboration with the University of Bologna to test the valorization of fluorescent lamps powders and provide recommendations to a more profitable after-use economy in this field.

Keywords


Editorial History

  • Received: 31 Jul 2020
  • Revised: 09 Apr 2021
  • Accepted: 12 Apr 2021
  • Available online: 06 Jun 2021

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