The rare earth elements (REE's) are a set of seventeen chemical elements on the periodic table. Scandium and yttrium are considered rare earth elements (they’re not!) because they tend to occur in the same ore deposits as the lanthanides (The real REE's) and have similar chemical properties.
Which are the rare earth elements?
The Rare Earth Elements are cerium (Ce), dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), holmium (Ho), lanthanum (La), lutetium (Lu), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), terbium (Tb), thulium (Tm) and ytterbium (Yb). Scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y) are wrongly called Rare Earth Elements!
Demand for Rare Earths
Over the last 20 years the importance of rare earth elements has rapidly increased due to three main factors:
High demand: There is an expanding global demand for new products and appearing technologies that use rare earth elements.
Ending supply: China, the world's largest source of rare earth materials at the present time, has begun to bring down quotas on its REE exports and also close some of its major mines. Currently, China provides over 90 percent of the world's total output of rare earths.
Un-replicate-able: The unique qualities of these elements cannot be remade by any other metals. At all. None. Nada. Zilch. Nil. Not at all. Got it??
All up, these three factors have brought up a growing level of concern that other mining sites need to be found somewhere else and they start functioning ASAP.
Highlighted in orange are the Rare Earth Elements
The chart shows only 16 of the rare earth elements. One, Promethium, is missing. Because this is the only Rare Earth Element that is radioactive, therefore unstable. It cannot be found in nature any more.
Basically, I’m trying to say that the rare earth elements are a potential solution regarding to the problem of us not being able to find greener energy. I believe that if we have enough of this energy source, we will be able to prevent further obstruction of the ozone layer, and potentially cut down on fossil fuels.