Automotive Tier 1 Schaeffler has signed a five-year contract with Norwegian company REEtec for the purchase of rare earth oxides. The aim, says Schaeffler, is to make its electric motors for hybrid modules, hybrid transmissions and all-electric axle drives more sustainable by sourcing rare earth metals from REEtec, which uses a sustainable production process. The partnership will begin in 2024.
“In REEtec, Schaeffler has gained a highly innovative partner that uses a novel and especially sustainable process for the production of pure rare earth elements,” said Andreas Schick, COO at Schaeffler. “Rare earths play an important role in the automotive and industrial segments. Schaeffler is focusing on achieving sustainability along the entire value chain and is systematically gearing its activities to the use of materials produced cleanly and sustainably. Through this partnership, we are also securing our supply of neodymium iron boron magnets for electric motors.”
Based on its proprietary technology, REEtec has been separating rare earths on an industrial scale since 2019. The company’s new plant in Herøya, near Porsgrunn in Norway, will process rare earth carbonates produced by Canada’s Vital Metals.