Purdue University, Ph.D.
EREF Scholar 2016
Value Recovery of Rare Earth Permanent Magnets: Economic and Environmental Impacts and Associated Pricing Strategy
Hongyue’s research focuses on reducing solid wastes and increasing material supply by reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing by concentrating on the value recovery of rare earth elements (REEs) from end-of-life (EOL) products. REEs are indispensable for today’s technology-driven society, however, the supply has been shown to be uncertain. As an approach to mitigate the supply risk and reduce wastes from EOL products, REEs could be reused via recycling and remanufacturing rare earth permanent magnets (REPMs). Currently, less than one percent of REEs are recovered from EOL products, and the development of processes and systems for REE recovery is critical to closing the material loop. With this in mind, Hongyue’s research focuses on the economic and environmental impact assessment of REPM recovery and developing strategies to foster a closed-loop supply chain.
The specific research plans are to 1) perform techno-economic analysis on several lab-scale technologies under development by Critical Materials Institute (CMI) on REE value recovery, 2) perform life cycle assessments (LCAs) in collaboration with industry partner to compare the environmental footprints of producing REPMs via magnet-to-magnet recycling with new production from virgin materials, and 3) develop a pricing strategy in collaboration with multiple stakeholders in REPM value recovery chain. Market competition between new and recovered products will be modeled, which may be influenced by the stakeholders such as new and recycled magnet manufacturers, OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), product end users, and the government. The goal is to strategically position the recovered products in the market to maximize the profit and promote sustainability. The economic analysis helps product recyclers better understand their profit structure and maximize it in the evolving market. The environmental analysis helps promote the benefits of REPM recovery to OEMs, product end users, and policy makers, to influence their purchasing and policy development decisions.
All of these efforts serve to increase the supply of critical materials such as REEs by facilitating an effective value recovery supply chain, reducing solid wastes by recovering material/component/product value, and aligning industry with the circular economy. The ultimate goal is to create viable business opportunities for solid wastes such as EOL HDDs.
Hongyue Jin is a Ph.D. candidate in Industrial Engineering at Purdue University. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Industrial & Systems Engineering at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2011 and 2013. Her research focuses on modelling, analysis, and control of reverse supply chains. Her recent research has been funded by Critical Materials Institute (CMI) on assessing the economic and environmental impacts of rare earth recovery so as to increase the supply of critical materials and promote circular economy. Hongyue is co-advised by Dr. Yuehwern Yih and Dr. John W. Sutherland at Purdue University.