Innovative Hydrometallurgical Process and Technology to recover Critical Raw Materials from WEEE
Relight has a constant attention to the development of new technologies for the treatment of WEEE and about innovative applications for the recycling of fractions and the recovery of Critical Raw Materials. In collaboration with other recycling companies and research institutions, Relight has designed a plant to extract rare earths from fluorescent powder in spent lamps and cathodic tubes through the development of innovative hydro-metallurgical processes. In the first phase during years 2009-2012, the pilot plant “HydroWEEE” was performed. In the second phase during years 2012-2017 “HydroWEEE Demo” plant was implemented as the up-scaling of the HydroWEEE technology in an industrial environment including a demonstration plant. The plant can recover rare earths from different WEEE.

Resources needed

The HydroWEEE projects have been financed by the European Union within the FP7 Work Program.
The technologies,designed within HYDROWEEE Demo, were realized by RELIGHT and Eco Recycling, based on the processes validated by Eco Recycling, RELIGHT the HTR during the previous "HYDROWEEE Project".

Evidence of success

HydroWEEE plant , currently located at RELIGHT, can treat about 1800 kg/day of fluorescent powders coming from spent lamps and cathode ray tubes, recovering around 200 kg/day of Rare Earths Oxide.

Potential for learning or transfer

It's crucial to sustain the European rare-earth recycling industry as well as maintain knowledge along the REE value chain to support the supply security. Also innovation within the Italian recycling industry can be an important step towards the reduction of the EU’s dependence on the import of raw materials.
Main institution
Lombardia, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
March 2009
End Date
March 2017


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