|About this Abstract
||2021 TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition
||Rare Metal Extraction & Processing
||An open-source tool for life cycle assessment of rare earth elements
||Ehsan Vahidi, Fu Zhao
|On-Site Speaker (Planned)
It is well known that the production of REEs carries a large environmental burden. The first step towards decreasing their environmental destruction is the comprehensive examination of the environmental emissions and energy requirements using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). There are limited LCA studies on REE production. Unfortunately, even these limited studies cover a small portion of the REE life cycle, suffer from low data quality, and may not represent typical production practice. In this study, a modularized open-source LCA software tool was developed based on two major REE production pathways (open-pit mining and in-situ leaching). The tool is to quantify the environmental impacts associated with REEs and provide public access to LCA datasets. The result of this research greatly improves our ability to identify the most environmentally impactful materials and energy flows within REEs’ production and helps us design new sustainable processes to meet the growing demand for REEs.