The Japanese automotive giant has teamed up with Japan Metals & Chemicals Co. to recover the metals from nickel-metal hydride batteries collected from used hybrid vehicles at Honda dealers around the world.

The process developed is expected to yield an 80% recovery rate. The extracted metals will be reused in new nickel-metal hydride batteries and other Honda products where feasible.

Honda claims the process will “be the first in the world to extract rare earth metals as part of a mass-production process at a recycling plant, rather than via a small-scale extraction process in controlled and experimental conditions.”

Previously, the company had been applying a heat treatment to used nickel-metal hydride batteries and recycling nickel-containing scrap, for recycling use as a raw material for stainless steel.

Honda said this is the first step in commercialising the technology and it has plans to expand its rare earth metal recovery operations in the future.

Maxine Perella

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