NOK 35 million for REEtec's demonstration plant in Herøya Industrial Park
Innovation Norway Telemark has made a grant of NOK 35 million to the technology company REEtec, which is to establish a demonstration plant for separation of rare earth elements at Herøya Industripark.
REE stands for Rare Earth Elements, which are critical elements that are in demand all over the world. They are central aspects of a number of "green" technologies. (Photo: REEtec's website)
REEtec has developed an entirely new process to produce high-purity, rare earth metals. These metals are critically important, in demand all over the world and are used in electronics, wind turbines, hybrid cars, electric cars, low-energy bulbs and LED bulbs.
Using the process developed by REEtec, metal production can be simplified and also performed on a highly ecofriendly basis. At Herøya, REEtec has tested the process on a pilot scale, with very good results.
The next step now is to build a demonstration plant for large-scale testing of the technology. Henning Reier-Nilsen, technical manager at REEtec, emphasises that the grant from Innovation Norway gives the company a good boost for its further development.
Demo plant in operation in 2018
"This is very important support for the journey from trial operation of a small plant, to commercial operation of an industrial facility. On this journey, testing in a large-scale demonstration plant is vital," says Henning Reier-Nilsen. He emphasises that the support from Pilotarena Herøya, headed by Rolf Olaf Larsen, is also of great value.
REEtec plans to have the demonstration plant in operation during the first half of 2018.
"2017 will be a building period, and as from mid-2018 the plan is to have the operational process in full swing. We're building a flexible plant that in principle can produce all of the rare metals, but in view of today's market situation, some metals will be more interesting than others," he explains.