RARE EARTH RECOVERY AND VALORISATION AND PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENT
The European Commission defined a list of critical materials for Europe, in terms of economic importance and supply risk. Among them are Rare Earths Elements (REE) that play an essential role in modern electronic technologies, industrial and medical products and innovative environmental technologies. The QEf group is deeply involved in defining and improving ways of recovering REE from a variety of sources: from secondary materials resulting from mining activities (European Project “ENVIronmentally friendly and efficient methods for extraction of Rare Earth Elements from secondary sources” - ENVIREE); from urban and industrial effluents (FCT Project – “Recovery versus environmental impacts of Rare Earth Elements derived from human activities” - REEuse, PTDC/QEQEPR/1249/2014) or from electric and electronic waste (COST action ES1407 - European network for innovative recovery strategies of rare earth and other critical metals from electric and electronic waste - ReCreew).
Due to the large use of REE in industry, the discharge of these metals in the environment has increased. It is important to know their cycle in the aquatic media and this is a second area where the expertise of the QEf group can be important and is also addressed in the REEuse project.