Bunting Introduces Carbon Neutral Neodymium Magnets
In response to feedback from European customers, Bunting-Berkhamsted is the first magnet supplier to offer carbon-neutral sintered Neodymium Iron Boron (NdFeB) rare earth magnets sold online through the company’s Bunting-eMagnets ecommerce website.
The manufacture of magnets such as NdFeB requires a considerable amount of effort and energy, from mining of the raw materials through to processing of the individual elements. The environmental impact of producing magnets is well-reported, but magnets remain critical for many applications from electric vehicles to computer hard drives and mobile phones with demand forecast to increase.
The value of any magnet in a permanent magnet system far exceeds the cost, as in many applications a permanent magnet, especially a strong sintered NdFeB magnet, is a critical component.
Suppliers and users of permanent magnets have long identified the need to recycle magnets. The reclamation of magnet material in the UK and across Europe is forcing the development of new technology. Successfully recycled magnets will be an alternative production source to primary raw materials as well as having a lower carbon footprint.
Bunting is involved in magnet recycling projects at the University of Birmingham and is a member of the EU-funded SUSMAGPRO project, which focuses on the sustainable recovery, reprocessing and reuse of rare earth magnets in a European circular economy. The carbon footprint of this activity has been determined to be 10% of the carbon produced for virgin magnet material.
Carbon Neutral Neodymium Magnets
However, with the vast majority of permanent rare earth magnets produced in China, there is no clear carbon footprint strategy from those magnet production operations.
Following feedback from customers and staff relating to the environmental impact of magnet production, Bunting’s development team investigated requirements to start a carbon neutral journey. The first step involved making every sintered NdFeB permanent magnet sold online via Bunting’s e-Magnets ecommerce website carbon neutral. The cost of implementation was absorbed by Bunting and not passed onto the customer.
A company or product is carbon neutral if the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through everyday activities or the manufacture and supply of the product balances with the amount absorbed or removed from the atmosphere. This is also called ‘net zero carbon emissions’ or ‘net zero carbon’, because overall no carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere. A carbon neutral footprint is one where the sum of the greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) produced is offset by natural carbon sinks and/or carbon credits.
Globally, there are numerous projects focused on balancing carbon output and capture. Through Bunting’s European design office, the team identified a European water treatment project. Methane is a gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). In this project, methane from a wastewater treatment plant is captured and used to generate electricity. This saves approximately 61,000 tpa carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
The introduction of carbon-neutral NdFeB magnets marks the start of a long-term strategy for Bunting-Berkhamsted to become carbon-neutral.
Supporting Customers Targeting Carbon-Neutrality
Bunting’s journey towards carbon-neutrality supports many customer’s drive towards reducing their carbon footprint. One customer started their journey over 10 years ago and had identified key suppliers identified as being ‘Hot Spots’ of CO2e in the supply chain. Following the introduction of carbon-neutral neodymium magnets, Bunting has been invited to become part of a pilot program looking at ways for the customer to better engage in sustainability with the supply chain, working together towards the goal of 90% CO2e reduction.
Related Technical Articles
- SUSMAGPRO – Rare Earth Magnets Recycling Task Force
- Explaining Neodymium Magnet Strength
- The History of Neodymium Magnets
Magnet and Magnet Assembly Design
Bunting designs and manufactures a wide range of magnets and magnetic assemblies. Many are bespoke for specific applications. For further information on any of the products mentioned in this article, or for bespoke magnet assemblies and magnet designs, please contact us via:
Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
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