Thuringian researcher wants to establish recycling of rare earths in this country

The so-called rare earth metals stuck today in most electronic devices. The Thuringian researcher Ralf Müller seeks to promote the recycling of such substances in this country.

Weimar. If you like resigns in quality of life - electricity from the grid most people think of as natural as the use of a mobile phone. But that all runs smoothly, necessary raw materials, which are hardly available in Germany currently: Rare earth oder genauer die Metalle der Seltenen Erden. The total 14 Elements, die sich in zahlreichen Anwendungen finden – aber nur an wenigen Orten abgebaut und auch in Deutschland aktuell kaum aufbereitet werden.

"We have to learn long, to conserve our resources ", findet Ralf Müller. The double postdoctoral university lecturer warns, Deutschlands wirtschaftliche Entwicklung könne gefährdet sein, sollte Hauptproduzent China irgendwann die Lieferungen kürzen. Pre-coming that is in the past.

Recently, the World Trade Organization, the Chinese Although sentenced to, withdraw its export restrictions and to prefer their own industries in supplying no longer. Doch Müller, in spite of his 77 Years still occasionally lectures, is not enough that: „Das ist von strategischem Interesse für unsere Wirtschaft.“ Vordringlich sei etwa die Gewinnung von Strom aus Wind. Deutschland habe sich für die Energiewende entschieden, but use wind turbines, that did not work as efficiently, as it is technically possible. "Would the offshore facilities operated off the coast with generators, using a magnet, consists at least in part of neodymium, would be much more performance possible. "Neodymium is one of the 14 Rare earth elements and is currently 97 Prozent in China abgebaut – wie in verschiedenen Medienberichten zu lesen ist, most adverse conditions.

The Thuringian researcher is convinced, that by recycling much more is possible here locally in this direction. Already today, so Müllers Kollege Professor Bernhard Adler, werden in einer Behindertenwerkstatt in Nordhausen elektronische Geräte nach festen Plänen zerlegt, sold the raw materials to a specialized company, continuing the treatment. "If the components are macroscopically tangible, können sie auch per Hand aus den Geräten herausgebrochen werden.“ Mit „Geräten“ meint er Dinge wie Mobiltelefone oder Fernseher. Adler zerlegt zunächst selbst ein solches Gerät. "On the basis then I design disassembly plans, which can be used in the workshop. "Examples of magnets from rare earth metals, for example, his speakers in cell phones or fan in computers. From microphones, corresponding substances could be gained - of course only in small amounts. "If we know, where the raw materials are to be found, but can go very quickly for each device. "

Thrown away tons of raw materials

Stattdessen würden in Deutschland jedes Jahr 400 to 500 Neodymium tons per year simply thrown away, will impact on the environment and need for new equipment newly won. Das passiert dann nicht in Deutschland, sondern zumeist in China. Thus, the change, consumers must be clear and also the State, what resources would be wasted, if you just throw away the used up resources. „In Bitterfeldzum Beispiel gibt es in den für Elektronikschrott vorgesehenen orangefarbenen Tonnen jede Menge Fehleinwürfe. Since we have even found bicycle parts. "In Hall (Saale) however, be not gathered properly. However, especially in the communities themselves must do still some. Often the materials are accepted at recycling centers, in Jena gibt es an den Sammeltonnen für Glasflaschen mittlerweile eine spezialisierte Tonne. 125 Containers are available throughout the city, where 2014 overall 250 Tonnes of electronic waste were collected Klein. Currently, the Foundation Electrical Equipment Register cares for the re-use, soon should a company take over the business, sagte Stadtsprecherin Barbara Glasser der TLZ.

Economically, it was quite rewarding - the energy transition is so politically desirable, so Adler. "But then the people must not lock against the well, what is required for their implementation. "This just heard, new lines and powerful wind turbines. The raw materials for this would indeed come from somewhere. "Instead, most spat only sounds great in energy policy." The first step on the road to success of the energy revolution is now enhanced recycling of electronic waste and the rare earth metals contained therein. "The raw materials, contained in a million phones, would newly purchased cost more than a million euros. Bottom line, I'm sure, does that make a profit so reasonably sorting ", so Adler. Der Professor im Ruhestand hilft zum Beispiel in Nordhausen an der Fachhochschule, Recycling train engineers. Which will eventually help, "That is not as much is wasted", he says. Recycling is ultimately no passion from him, but founded on a lack, requires the integrated solutions. "More recycling is just the beginning."

Florian Girwert / 01.04.15 / TLZ


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