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Solvay launches rare-earth-recycling activities in France  

By Gerald Ondrey |

Today, Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; www.solvay.com) officially opened two rare earth recycling units in France. In order to diversify its sources of supply and preserve resources, the Group has developed a process for recovering rare earths contained in end-of-life equipment such as low-energy light bulbs, batteries or magnets. This original recycling channel derived from the Group’s research programs opens up new growth opportunities for Solvay’s "Rare Earths" activity. First launched in 2007, this project required two years of research and development followed by two years of industrialization studies and site selection. The investment was officially approved in 2011. The Group decided to focus initially on low-energy light bulbs because the recovery channels already exist. These light bulbs are rich in six different rare earths — lanthanum, cerium, terbium, yttrium, europium and gadolinium — which Solvay is now in a position to recycle while preserving 100% of their functional properties. Used light bulbs are collected, sorted and processed by specialized companies who recycle their different components (glass, metals, plastics, mercury). The luminescent powders are shipped to the Group’s…
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