2012-09-27 12:09:37 -
Brussels, September 27, 2012 - 12:00
SOLVAY LAUNCHES ITS RARE EARTH
RECYCLING ACTIVITY IN FRANCE
Investment worth more than fifteen million euros
to recycle rare earths from the "urban mine"
Today, Solvay is officially opening two rare earth recycling units in France.
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 facilities: to Saint-Fons (Rhône-
Alpes, France) first of all, where the rare earth concentrate is extracted and
subsequently to La Rochelle (Charente Maritime, France), a plant that boasts
unique expertise in separation technology unparalleled in Europe. Once the rare
earths have been separated, they are then reformulated into luminescent
precursors that will be reused in the manufacture of new lamps.
"Used in small quantities, rare earths play the role of 'vitamins' vital for the
continuing development of new technologies, especially green technologies.
Global demand for rare earths is growing at more than 6% per year, making these
elements a strategic raw material. Recycling allows us to develop a new source
of supply, and we aim to become the benchmark European player in this area,"
explains Du Hua, Director of Solvay's Rare Earths Systems business unit. "The
launch of these units illustrates our tangible contribution as a chemical
manufacturer to sustainable development."
A world leader in rare earth-based formulations, Solvay develops a large number
of innovations used in everyday applications (flat screens, low-energy light
bulbs, automotive pollution control, high precision optics, etc.).
SOLVAY is an international chemical Group committed to sustainable development
with a clear focus on innovation and operational excellence. It is realizing
over 90% of its sales in markets where it is among the top 3 global leaders.
Solvay offers a broad range of products that contribute to improving the quality
of life and the performance of its customers in markets such as consumer goods,
construction, automotive, energy, water and environment, and electronics. The
Group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 31,000 people in 55 countries
and generated EUR 12.7 billion in net sales in 2011 (pro forma). Solvay SA
(SOLB.BE) is listed on NYSE Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB -
For further details, please contact:
LAMIA NARCISSE ERIK DE LEYE MARIA ALCON-HIDALGO PATRICK VERELST
Media Relations Media Relations Investor Relations Investor Relations
+33 1 53 56 59 62 +32 2 264 1530 +33 1 53 56 64 89 +32 2 264 1540
This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of
Thomson Reuters clients. The owner of this announcement warrants that:
(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and
other applicable laws; and
(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and
originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Solvay S.A. via Thomson Reuters ONE