Bottlenecks in material cycle of nickel

Kenichi Nakajima, Ichiro Daigo, Kenichi Okada, Shimpei Koike, Keisuke Nansai, Kazuyo Matsubae, Osamu Takeda, Takahiro Miki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Economic growth is associated with a rapid rise in the use of natural resources, and has potential environmental impacts at local and/or global scales. Possible options to control environmental impacts associated with consumption of natural resources include the introduction of easier way to identify the consumption of natural resources and the associated environmental impacts through the global supply chain, and the establishment of sound material cycle to reduce the consumption of national resources. Nickel and nickel-containing materials, whose global demand has risen rapidly in recent years, play a crucial role in modern society, with uses in numerous types of infrastructure and technology. At the same time, the life cycles of nickel-containing materials are always associated with environmental risks and challenges (Nakajima et al. 2014). Especially, the environmental impacts caused by nickel mining has received particular attention in recent years, because the world's leading countries and regions of nickel ore production (e.g., New Caledonia, Philippines and the Republic of Indonesia) are also typically known as biodiversity hotspots (Myers et al. 2000). However, we can see material and/or quality losses of nickel throughout anthropogenic nickel cycle (Reck and Graedel 2012). Possible options to reduce the environmental impacts associated with nickel mining include nickel recovery from wastes such as spent batteries and catalysts, plating sewage, and industrial water. Recovery of these wastes has a potential to reduce natural resource consumption, and to reduce a negative impact on the environment and human health if they contaminate soil, water, and air. In this study, we discussed a bottleneck for establishing sound material cycle of nickel. Hence, upon assessing the generation and processing of nickel-containing wastes, we clarify the quality of nickel-containing waste, as well as the technical bottlenecks for closing the loop on the material cycle of nickel. Sound material cycle of nickel-containing steel scrap has been established in Japan; with reports of almost of nickel-based stainless scrap being recycled (Daigo et al. 2010). Therefore, this study addressed nickel-containing waste that are of particular concern for losses, such as pre-consumer materials with low-grade nickel content. This study identified characteristics of nickel containing pre-consumer materials generated from steel production industry (stainless steel), electrodepositing tool production industry, edible oils and fats industry, and nickel plating industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number604
JournalMateriaux et Techniques
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Loss
  • Material cycle
  • Nickel
  • Recycle
  • Waste management


Dive into the research topics of 'Bottlenecks in material cycle of nickel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this