19 October 2022 News
Seren Technologies, the Queens University spin out company which recently announced receipt of a £1.72 million UK government grant has been acquired by Australia based multinational, Ionic Rare Earths (IonicRE).
SerenTech has developed new techniques to recycle permanent magnets using a revolutionary process for the separation and recovery of rare earth elements from mining ore concentrates and waste magnets. The company now has 11 full time employees based in Belfast, with another 25 positions to be created in 2023, and further expansion planned thereafter. SerenTech will now be rebranded as Ionic Technologies International Ltd, or IonicTech.
IonicTech is now accelerating the scale up of the technology, completing a new pilot plant at its new facility at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast UK. The Company was recently awarded a grant of £1.72 million from the UK Government’s Innovate UK Automotive Transformation Fund Scale up Readiness Validation (SuRV) program, to develop a demonstration scale magnet recycling plant, a significant step towards securing the UK supply of critical rare earth metals for Electric Vehicle manufacture.
Tim Harrison, Managing Director of Ionic Rare Earths commented:
“The world’s supply of magnet rare earth elements is failing to keep pace with demand, whilst the importance and ubiquity of magnets as part of everyday life is growing. Clearly, as dependence on high grade permanent magnets, which depend on magnet rare earth elements – Neodymium, Praseodymium, Dysprosium and Terbium – new sources of supply must be brought to market. Permanent magnets are critical for net zero carbon technologies such as electric vehicles and offshore wind turbines, but also rare earths critical to everyday life, used in smartphones, speakers and 5G internet to name just a few.”
“As the demand for these new technology applications grow, the need for secondary sourcing, otherwise known as recycling, becomes ever more pressing. We are delighted to be able to now formally progress with the change of name from SerenTech to Ionic Technologies International Limited, and to commence building the brand from which we will commercialise a leading edge, patented technology to help deliver a viable alternative solution for the processing of end-of-life magnets and swarf to be used in new permanent magnets, developed right here in Belfast.”
“The latest statistics suggest the magnet rare earth element supply is sourced between 30-40% from recycled materials, with China dominating over 99% of the magnet recycling landscape. IonicRE through IonicTech aims to provide an alternative option, with a low cost, modular entry for recycled magnets.”
IonicRE sees the commercialisation of the technology offering from IonicTech as vital to the Companies’ growth as it now moves to work with global governments looking to develop domestic magnet supply chains. Such partnerships will also provide more secure and traceable supply chains for critical raw material.
Tim Harrison, Managing Director of Ionic Rare Earths.