Dresdner Gesprächskreis der Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft honours chemists of TU Freiberg

Dr. Tom Lorenz
The Dresdner Gesprächskreis der Wirtschaft und der Wissenschaft e.V. awarded its prizes for outstanding research by young scientists in Chemnitz on 13 November. Dr. Tom Lorenz from the Institute of Technical Chemistry at the TU Freiberg is one of the winners.

Dr. Lorenz is a graduate of the diploma course in chemistry at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg and received his doctorate there in 2018 for the recycling of rare earths. A subject he is still working on today as a scientist at the Institute of Technical Chemistry.

His focus is on the development of innovative, environmentally friendly and economical recycling processes for rare earths from fluorescent waste and old magnets as well as the further development of solid chlorination. In this process, waste containing rare earths is converted cost-effectively and resource-efficiently into aqueous, pure concentrates that can later be reused for industrial production. Dr. Lorenz is also a member of the research team that successfully transferred a recycling process for rare earth phosphors to industry in 2014 in the SepSELSA project.

Rare earths include a total of 17 elements, which today form part of many high-tech products in electrical engineering, data storage, optics and the chemical industry. Nevertheless, there is a lack of sustainable use of these finite resources. Only less than one percent of rare earth metals are recycled outside China.  This is not least due to the sharp fall in raw material prices since 2011, which make it virtually impossible under current conditions to develop cost-effective alternatives for recycling.

Dr. Lorenz was awarded one of the 2,500 Euro sponsorship prizes of the Dresden discussion group for his research achievements. The other two awards went to young scientists at Chemnitz Technical University and Dresden Technical University. This year's prize was awarded under the motto "Raw materials of the future - efficiency and sufficiency".

About the Dresdner Gesprächskreis der Wirtschaft und der Wissenschaft e.V.

As a bridge between science and industry in Saxony, the Dresden Discussion Group is today one of the most important social institutions in the state. In addition to the Technical Universities of Cottbus, Dresden, Chemnitz and Freiberg, its members include over 44 companies and around 30 individual personalities from business, culture and politics.

Dr. Tom Lorenz, Phone: +49 3731 39-3651