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Changing the way of "digging and selling soil" "rare earth power" moves towards "rare earth power"

Changing the way of "digging and selling soil" "rare earth power" moves towards "rare earth power"

  • Categories:Industrial Trend
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  • Time of issue:2018-09-12 08:19
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Changing the way of "digging and selling soil" "rare earth power" moves towards "rare earth power"

(Summary description)The reporter learned through investigation that Baotou City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which accounts for 83.7% of the country’s rare earth resources and 38.7% of the world’s global resources, has changed the way of “digging and selling soil” in recent years, and has achieved a series of breakthroughs in scientific research. The local conversion rate of technology and raw materials has increased significantly. The "Eve" of explosive development.

  • Categories:Industrial Trend
  • Author:
  • Origin:
  • Time of issue:2018-09-12 08:19
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"Rare-earth power" moves towards "rare-earth power"

The reporter learned through investigation that Baotou City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which accounts for 83.7% of the country’s rare earth resources and 38.7% of the world’s global resources, has changed the way of “digging and selling soil” in recent years, and has achieved a series of breakthroughs in scientific research. The local conversion rate of technology and raw materials has increased significantly. The "Eve" of explosive development.

In recent years, my country has made some breakthroughs in the research and development of rare earth technology, but the level of systematic research and application still lags far behind foreign countries. Experts suggest that a comprehensive inventory of resources, strengthen top-level design, set up national-level research institutions, systematically carry out basic and applied research on rare earths, get rid of the status quo of being stuck, strengthen the rare earth industry, and strive to turn a country with rare earth resources into a powerful rare earth country.

A series of breakthroughs in research and development

The 17 rare earth elements known as "industrial vitamins" are extremely rich in physical and chemical properties. Adding them to traditional materials will increase their performance geometrically. They are strategic elements that affect the development of important fields such as the world's future economy and national defense. .

Since 2014, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Baotou City have conscientiously implemented the spirit of the speech made by General Secretary Jin Ping during his visit to Inner Mongolia, introduced a series of policies to accelerate the development of the rare earth industry, established an industrial transformation and upgrading fund, built an innovation platform, introduced talents, and promoted the research and development of rare earth application technologies. Conversion. More than 10 rare earth application research institutions including the Inner Mongolia Rare Earth Functional Materials Innovation Center, the Baotou Rare Earth R&D Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Baotou Materials Research Institute of Shanghai Jiaotong University have been established. 3 academicians have been established for the comprehensive utilization of rare earth resources, rare earth permanent magnet materials, rare earth sulfides and rare earth light sources The number of rare earth R&D personnel in the workstation has increased to more than 400, accounting for more than one third of the country.

An Sihu, Director of the Rare Earth Industry Bureau of Baotou Rare Earth High-tech Industrial Development Zone ("Baotou Rare Earth High-tech Zone"), introduced that in the past few years, various scientific research teams and enterprises have concentrated on tackling key problems and made breakthroughs in a number of key technologies:

The Rare Earth R&D Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Baotou, has developed a rare earth steel preparation technology with sub-micron inclusions, breaking through the technical bottleneck of the large-scale industrial application of rare earths in steel; developed a domestic leading level of high-purity rare earth metal preparation technology; developed nano The super-smooth cerium-based polishing fluid can be controlled and prepared to reach the international leading level; the development of rare earth sulfide colorants provides a new way for the large-scale application of high-abundance light rare earth lanthanum and cerium in my country.

Baotou Xibaobowei Medical System Co., Ltd. developed the world's first Chiying A30 MRI diagnosis and treatment vehicle with independent intellectual property rights; Baotou Tuoyouda New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. developed the world's first "Halbach array disk" Type coreless rare earth permanent magnet wind power generator" technology.

Baotou Rare Earth Research Institute’s projects such as "Lanthanum and Cerium-containing Rare Earth PVC Thermal Stabilizer" and "Highly Stable Performance Sintered NdFeB Radiation (Multipole) Magnetic Ring Industrial Development" have won the first and second prizes of China Rare Earth Science and Technology Award. .

"These technologies have filled the technical gaps in my country's related fields." An Sihu said that there are currently 31 rare earth enterprise R&D platforms in the area, among which the Baiyun Obo Rare Earth Resources Research and Comprehensive Utilization Laboratory has been rated as a national key laboratory.

Technological transformation

The reporter saw at the Rare Earth R&D Center of Baotou, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the colorful "Jingdezhen" porcelain cups were shining, and the beautiful porcelain bodies could be seen through the transparent glaze layer. “Rare earths are amazing. You can choose any color you want; adjust the firing temperature a little, and the color will be ever-changing.” said Chi Jianyi, director of the Baotou Rare Earth R&D Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, adding the red rare earth sulfide color paste in the container. Pour a drop into a bottle of mineral water, without shaking, the color spreads quickly, "very uniform and stable, the bottle in the laboratory has been left for more than a year without precipitation."

This is the world’s first 10-ton rare earth sulfide colorant in 2016, based on the key scientific issues of rare earth oxide deoxidation and sulfurization under mild conditions by the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and in cooperation with the Baotou Rare Earth R&D Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. One of the products of the tunnel kiln pilot production line. This colorant is non-toxic, harmless, and does not fade for a long time, and its technology ranks at the world's leading level. It has been included in the "List of Substitutes for Poisonous and Hazardous Raw Materials Encouraged by the State" by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection. A major breakthrough has been achieved in the downstream applications of added value.

At present, the global annual demand for rare earth sulfide colorants is 200,000 tons, and the output value is about 60 billion yuan. However, due to the preparation process technology, the actual market supply is only about 200 tons. The output value of this production line is expected to exceed 10 billion yuan. Not only that, the scientific research team has also successfully developed rare earth lipsticks, rare earth ink pads, rare earth masterbatches and other green application products, which are now being industrialized.

The reporter saw that the production workshop of Baotou Insite Dilute Magnetic New Material Co., Ltd. was busy, and the workers were rushing to make "magnetic components" orders. According to Chen Hongyu, manager of the company's business department, the newly developed magnetic components have an adsorption capacity several to several tens of times that of a single magnet, which is extremely popular in the market.

In Baotou Jiangxin Micro Motor Technology Co., Ltd., a production line is trial production of VCM voice coil motors. The core technology of this product is to use rare earth neodymium iron boron permanent magnet materials to make smaller volume, better performance, and higher added value. Clear micro motors are widely used in mobile phones, tablet computers and mobile payment card reader lenses.

Cao Hongzhang, deputy director of the pilot test base of Baotou Rare Earth Research Institute, introduced that their new product "Special Heat Stabilizer for PVC Foamed Sheets" will soon be mass-produced. This product uses rare earth lanthanum and cerium elements to solve the problem of lead in old products. The performance is improved by nearly 20%, and it is mainly used in the fields of home improvement materials, advertising panels, and new energy vehicle interiors.

In the past few years, Baotou has implemented nearly a hundred rare earth industry transformation and upgrading projects, and formed a batch of rare earth application products with independent intellectual property rights in the fields of aerospace, magnetic refrigeration, permanent magnet motors, hydrogen storage batteries, energy saving and environmental protection; focusing on new rare earth materials , New energy, robotics and other fields, established 13 industrialization companies, and transformed 33 scientific and technological achievements. The in-situ conversion rate of rare earth raw materials has increased from 40% 3 years ago to the current 85%, and the proportion of rare earth functional materials has increased from 3 years. The previous 20% increased to 51.2%.

The industry enters the eve of the outbreak

"The rare earth industry in Baotou is on the eve of explosive development." Chi Jianyi said that an industrial cluster of rare earth functional materials here is forming.

According to Wang Xiulian, Deputy Mayor of Baotou City, the number of rare earth enterprises in the city has increased to 134, including 85 new materials and end-use enterprises, forming a complete industrial system of mining, smelting, research and development, deep processing, and application. Last year, the city’s rare earth industry achieved an output value of 13.8 billion. Yuan, a year-on-year increase of 37%, initially forming five industrial chains of rare earth permanent magnets, polishing, hydrogen storage, alloys, and catalysis.

Not long ago, Baotou City issued the "Ten Policies on Supporting the Development of Rare Earth New Material Industrial Park", encouraging rare earth high-tech companies to settle in the "Inner Mongolia Rare Earth New Material Industrial Park" listed last year to accelerate the transformation of scientific and technological achievements. The core area of ​​the park has a planned area of ​​80 square kilometers, and 36 key projects have been introduced with a total investment of 56 billion yuan. The park focuses on cutting-edge technologies such as the world's first and domestic first in the field of rare earth applications, and builds an important domestic coal chemical and polymer new material industrial base, the largest domestic 400-series ferritic stainless steel industrial base, and the country’s largest high-purity rare earth metal Processing and application industrial base, an important anode material industrial base in the country. The director of the park, Liu Yongming, introduced that the output value of the park will exceed 50 billion yuan by 2020, and the "four major bases" will be fully completed by 2025, making it one of the 100 billion-level parks.

Baotou Municipal Party Committee Secretary Zhang Yuanzhong and Mayor Zhao Jiangtao stated that the local area is working hard to make the rare earth industry bigger and stronger, and promote the transformation of new and old kinetic energy, especially to develop high-strength, corrosion-resistant "rare earth steel", relying on the rare earth permanent magnet industry to build "China Magnetic Valley" promotes the high-quality development of this country’s old industrial base.

“Major breakthroughs have also been made in rare earth bearing steel smelting technology.” Chi Jianyi said that my country needs 4 million tons of bearing steel every year, most of which rely on imports. Chinese scientists have found that foreign high-end steel contains rare earth elements. Academician Li Yiyi, Chinese Academy of Sciences The special project is being declared, and the research and development work is going to start in Baotou. Once successful, Baotou will become a base material base for special steel, and it can also support Baotou's transformation and development.

Many experts believe that the current production technology of some rare earth functional materials in my country has led the world, especially the use of rare earth permanent magnet materials in areas such as high-speed trains, high-speed rails, subways, trolleybuses, large marine motors, and small robot motors. The prospects are very optimistic.

Strategic elements must be highly valued

"Rare earths are the mother of new materials." Li Wei, deputy chief engineer of the Central Iron and Steel Research Institute and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that rare earth elements have excellent optical, electrical, and magnetic properties, and can significantly improve the performance of traditional materials such as steel and aluminum. It is used to produce new materials with different properties and a wide range of varieties, which can be widely used in the development of high-tech industries such as military industry and electronic information, optics, nuclear industry, aerospace, new energy, high-end equipment manufacturing, etc.

"The facial expressions of a robot require dozens of micro rare earth permanent magnet servo motors to complete." Academician Li Wei said that rare earth functional materials are inseparable in many fields. The reason why the American "Patriot Missile" sees the target It is clear that thanks to the application of rare earth functional materials on the radar; the "Raptor" fighter aircraft achieves supersonic cruise capability, the engine used has a large number of rare earth materials applied.

"Rare earth is a strategic element that affects future development." said Chi Jianyi, director of the Baotou Rare Earth R&D Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Rare earth is an important support for the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries and the development of emerging industries.

Experts believe that my country's rare earth scientific research strength and industrial layout are currently scattered, and the overall scientific research level is about 20 years behind that of developed countries. The lack of support for my country's high-quality development is not commensurate with the status of strategic elements, and further attention is needed.

Research needs greater breakthroughs

European and American countries began to study rare earths 200 years ago, and related research in my country has only a few decades of history.

Baotou Rare Earth Research Institute, with more than 300 researchers, is the largest rare earth research institute in China. Dean Yang Zhanfeng said that the level of rare earth research in my country has improved significantly in recent years, but compared with foreign countries, there is still a large gap in basic and applied research. In many aspects, we only know what is happening, but we don't know why.

"Although the number of papers is not lost to others, as soon as it comes to specific applications, it is often covered by patents from Japan, the United States, and Europe." Yang Zhanfeng said, "After people's papers are published, follow the vines and go down, our papers will be'full stop'. , So the application is poor and the technology is few."

"From basic research, application research to product development, it takes a long process." Chi Jianyi said. For example, their newly developed rare earth sulfide colorant has endless color changes at different firing temperatures. It can also be used for military stealth and other materials. "However, we know the results, but we don't know the mechanism. It will take at least 5 years to get data and formulas." Scientists need to establish a project to follow up research and development.

Academician Li Wei said: "Basic research is insufficient, and some core technologies have not appeared in our country." For example, our country supplies 90% of the world's rare earths and produces 70% of the world's rare earth magnetic materials, but most of the patents are in Japanese and American companies. In the hands, export products have to pay patent fees to others.

Experts said that the theoretical calculation of the energy level of rare earth elements in the fourth level of the electronic layer shows that there are nearly 200,000 energy level transitions. At present, human understanding of rare earths is minimal and there is huge room for exploration. As a country with rare earth resources, my country needs to systematically conduct rare earths. Basic research and application technology research and development, and strive to make a major breakthrough in the new material "Porn Bull nose".

Three problems need to be solved urgently

Last year, my country's rare earth industry achieved 84 billion yuan in revenue from its main business, a year-on-year increase of 12.4%, and a profit of 7.47 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 38.3%, which initially reversed the export trend of "increasing volume and falling prices".

Experts believe that, as one of the key supporting materials for emerging industries, the contribution rate of rare earth industry should increase exponentially in the future. The premise is to raise the rare earth industry to the national strategic level for top-level design and make it more refined and stronger. At the moment, the following three problems need to be solved urgently.

——Strengthen basic and applied research and promote technological transformation.

Rare earth application technology patents are mainly in the hands of American and Japanese companies, and some are also listed as banned export technologies by foreign countries. my country's rare earth industry has been tracking, imitating, or buying foreign patents, and more of it is "selling land for a living." Only by strengthening independent research and development can we get rid of the situation of being restricted by others.

Experts analyzed that since many research institutes were restructured and delegated to enterprises around 2000, because enterprises emphasized economic benefits, they seldom carried out large-scale basic research and applied research. For example, Baotou Rare Earth Research Institute formerly affiliated to the Ministry of Metallurgy has gradually become the "Sun" company of Baotou Iron and Steel Group. The administrative level has changed from bureau level to department level. The research direction is determined by the company according to the market. This has led to this once famous rare earth. The performance of scientific research units has been mediocre for many years. However, most of the theoretical results of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and universities are not closely related to the industry, making my country's rare earth research incoherent, disconnected, and even blank.

Experts believe that my country's existing rare earth scientific and technological innovation research force is fragmented, multi-repetitive, and scattered in various places, the research and development goals are not clear enough, and the project setting is not accurate enough. There must be a strong national-level systematic rare earth research institution, and even in-depth research on 17 rare earth elements. It is recommended to use Baotou Rare Earth Research Institute as the basis, integrate national scientific research forces, establish a rare earth comprehensive research institution under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, research and develop new technologies, and accelerate the development of rare earth application industries.

——Strengthen top-level planning and design, and promote breakthroughs in key and key areas.

Experts believe that the application of rare earths in my country must go to high-end, refine and strengthen the industry, transform resources with high efficiency, continuously increase added value, and make rare earths "sparser". Some countries have formulated a series of rare earth strategies and policies. my country should also raise the rare earth industry to the national strategic level for top-level design to promote high-quality development.

At present, Baotou, the "Hometown of Rare Earths", has established the "Inner Mongolia Rare Earth New Material Industrial Park". Experts believe that the park can be regarded as the core base of the national rare earth industry, with Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Shandong and other places as the radiation base, using the more advanced equipment and solid foundation of the rare earth industry in Baotou to establish a "national rare earth industry". "Functional Materials Innovation Center" is to build a platform for my country's rare earth science and technology innovation in an all-round way, to solve the problem of incomplete connection between technology and industry.

——Take an inventory of resources and find out the family background.

The Baiyun Obo iron ore mine in Baotou, the "rare earth capital", still uses data from the 1950s for the content of rare earths. Until now, the extent of its metallogenic belt has been mined, the direction of the veins, and whether the content has changed. No one can tell because of lack of basic research.

Experts suggest that the state should re-explorate the rare earth resources of the Baiyun Obo Iron Mine, obtain the latest scientific data and related information, and extract tens of millions of tons of rare earths contained in Baotou Iron and Steel’s tailings ponds and dumps, which is highly efficient. Comprehensive utilization. (Reporting by reporters Li Renhu, Chen Lei, Jia Lijun, and Ren Huibin from Hohhot)

This article is reproduced from the Economic Information Daily

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