Rare Earth Elements by Mark-Jan Bludau

Rare earth elements are a group of metals of great economic and technological significance. They possess a great number of irreplaceable properties and play a key role especially with regard to renewable energy sources. Due to a rising demand, future supplies might be in danger. Even though there are a lot of places in the world possessing resources, more than 90% of the produced rare earth elements come from China. Mining and production are very harmful to the environment and create in the majority of cases a lot of radioactive and toxic waste. Despite the great value and the problematic production, only around 1% of all rare earth elements are recycled. The intention of the project was to create a series of infographic posters to give an overview about the topic, to explain the significance of rare earth elements and to call attention to one’s own recycling behavior. The project was a bachelor-thesis at the FH Aachen.