Honda Recycles Rare Earths from Hybrid Cars

By Joel Arellano | April 18, 2012
While hybrid cars and vehicles save on non-renewable fossil fuels, their powertrains are complex and utilize an enormous amount of precious resources, especially materials like rare earths. Well, Honda, which manufactures several hybrids including the Honda Civic Hybrid, Insight, and the CR-Z as well as the upcoming Acura ILX hybrid, aims to conserve such shrinking resources. Honda and Japan Metals & Chemicals recently announced they will be extracting rare earth materials from the batteries used in Honda's hybrid vehicles. According to Honda, the two companies have managed to successfully stabilize the extraction process used in pulling rare earths from the batteries. Rare earths pulled out in the process have a purity level equal to refined materials or newly mined, says the automaker. More than 80 percent of the rare earths found in hybrid vehicle's batteries can be successfully extracted with the system. Honda states it will utilize the rare earths extracted for a wide variety of purposes besides new batteries. Eventually, the automaker hopes to extract and process other rare earths from other car and vehicle parts in addition to the hybrid batteries.'s take: We applaud Honda' continued efforts in environmental issues. The automaker has, for example, virtually eliminated all plant wastes from its U.S. manufacturing plants; the Honda Civic GX has been awarded numerous green accolades, and the fuel cell-powered Honda FCX Clarity won the 2009 World Green Car. We also admire Honda taking action against China, which currently has a hold in the rare earth market worldwide and sending rare earths prices skyrocketing. Source: Honda Worldwide