An extraordinary and unusual team

A team of experts

The "Care" in Carester as well as Carencotte.
Frédéric Carencotte took an unprecedented gamble at a turning point in his career and embarked upon a unique entrepreneurial adventure combining youth with experience.
the enterprise was certainly a unique one because the average age of the young company was around 60, yet Carester also offers an accumulated experience of more than two and a half centuries in scientific and industrial studies.

Carester offers singular know-how, not found anywhere else in the world, to tackle specific issues faced by international companies. It owes this reputation to an industrial career rich in rare earth element experience.

It provides a wealth of European expertise that is recognised and valued at an international level. This is what Frédéric Carencotte succeeded in building with Carester.

Our experts’ story

Frédéric Carencotte // 15 years of experience in rare earth elements
Carester’s founder is an engineer and chemist and a graduate of the Lyon Institute of Chemistry and Industrial Physics.
He has 22 years of experience in Rhône- Poulenc/Solvay under his belt, where he started out as a chemical engineering expert in the Engineering and Technology Research Centre in Décines. For 15 years he worked in various roles in the rare earth industry in France and China, from engineer to director of operations of the Solvay Rare Earth body, as well as factory director in La Rochelle and director of rare earth recycling activities at Solvay. He has dedicated the past four years of his career at Solvay to surfactants, as director of business and then managing director.
The goal that he has set with Carester is to improve rare earth extraction processes throughout the world to enable manufacturers to benefit from the highest quality solutions. This goal is driven by a belief shared by all of the collaborators in his project: that expertise is the source of progress. His vision is that together, they must relentlessly promote the expertise that they bring and, above all, ensure the durability of French know-how. Frédéric Carencotte is fighting for an accountable French industry.

Pascal Rault // 28 years of experience in rare earth elements
Pascal Rault gained a degree in Chemical Engineering and Process Engineering from the University of Saint Nazaire in 1989.
À la suite de dix années passées au sein de l'usine Rhône Poulenc de La Rochelle, Pascal Rault s'envole à l’aube du nouveau millénaire vers une mission de trois ans en Chine pour Rhodia qui projette alors d'y ouvrir une usine de terres rares, où il est nommé Chargé du Transfert de Technologie de La Rochelle à Liyang. À son retour à l'usine de La Rochelle, il fait une rencontre décisive en la personne de Frédéric Carencotte, qui à l’époque occupe le poste de directeur de la production. Alors qu’il est vite amené à repartir pour la Chine, ils entament ensemble une collaboration sur huit années.
After ten years working for Solvay in China, Pascal Rault left the company to start a small business. His experience in rare earth elements and his contacts steered him the direction of Malaysia, where he undertook a series of projects.
With around 15 years of experience in extraction and 15 years in precipitation, filtration and calcination processes, Pascal is a true professional with wide-ranging experience. His background includes roles in production team management and processes in France and in Asia (China, Japan, India and Malaysia).
Pascal currently hopes to actively participate in various rare earth extraction start-up projects and has joined Carester as a senior technician and finishing expert. He is driven by his belief, his passion for the industry and his desire to take on new challenges and continue to travel.

Alain Rollat // 37 years of experience in rare earth elements
Alain Rollat is a chemical engineer who graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie [National Institute of Chemistry] in Strasbourg in 1975 and from the University of Strasbourg in 1979, with a PhD in chemistry. He is the author of several patents and has contributed to writing many international publications and analysis on the subject of rare earth elements. He also regularly hosts international conferences.
At the start of the 1980s, he embarked on a long career in the rare earth sector at Rhône-Poulenc (now known as Solvay). There, his main role was to develop a research centre and factory in Paris and La Rochelle. In 2014, we tasked him with the role of Worldwide Process Supervisor for Rare-Earth Elements. This role covered five factories located in France, China, Japan and the USA and involved tackling junior mining issues with partners.
Shortly after Alain’s retirement in 2016, Solvay decided to terminate its partnerships with rare earth mining companies. At this point, Alain decided to take advantage of his lengthy experience to pursue a collaboration with these companies through independent consultation.
Today, he invests all of his expertise and know- how in Carester, working with a team of experts responsible for industrial separation and selecting and sizing materials. He also wishes to be involved in strengthening European skills in the rare earth sector. The ethical values that his career has afforded him drive him to engage in an economic, green vision for the future of the rare earth industry. The vision is economic in the sense that it attracts the commitment of investors and green in terms of the awareness of environmental and ecological challenges.

Alain Van De Sype // 28 years of experience in rare earth elements
Alain Van De Sype joined Solvay in 1974 as a technician at the central analysis laboratory of the Rhône-Poulenc factory in La Rochelle.
He very quickly moved onto the manufacturing floor as production manager for the upstream and separation areas. Following a spell in the environment department, Alain Van De Sype returned to the separation sector and dedicated his career there. He will most notably, participate in a Chinese venture to launch a liquid-liquid extraction battery.
Alain Van De Sype is a true expert in the use of liquid-liquid extraction batteries and is regularly called upon by current industrial players. He is currently the most experienced expert in calculating and studying industrial unit deviation.

Alain Lévêque // 45 years of experience in rare earth elements
Alain Lévêque graduated from the University of Paris in 1968, and penned a thesis on Rare- Earth Element Separation in 1973 for his PhD at the École Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielles [Institute of Physics and Industrial Chemistry] in Paris. One year later, he obtained an MBA from the University of Paris. He has written reviews on rare earth elements, which have been published in various encyclopaedias (for example Ullmann's Encyclopaedia of Industrial Chemistry 1982, Techniques de l’Ingénieur 1981 & 1993 and Kirk-Othmer Encyclopaedia of Chemical Technology 2001). He is the inventor and co-inventor of 25 patents and has received two honorary distinctions during his career; from the French Society of Industrial Chemistry - Analytical Chemistry Group in 1972 and from the French Society for the Promotion of National Industry in 1987.
Alain is an expert in inorganic chemistry, electrochemistry, chemical separation processes and liquid-liquid extraction. His research roles began in 1973 at Rhône-Poulenc, who took him on as an engineer. Four years later, in 1977, he headed the department for hydrometallurgy and studies into the extraction and separation of rare earth elements and other rare metals such as gallium, along with the purification of phosphoric acid. In 1981, he became responsible for researching large-scale mineral processes at Rhône-Poulenc Base Chemicals. Three years later he joined the Rochelle factory as development manager for rare earth production. In the late 1980s, he was appointed Associate Researcher of the Rhône-Poulenc group before becoming Director of Research and Development of Rare-Earth Elements and Gallium for Rhodia in 1993. This role covered France, the USA and Japan. In 2000, he became Director of Innovation and Technology for Phosphate Activity at Rhodia.
His industrial career ended in 2004 in the role of Scientific Director and, since then, he has dedicated his time to consulting activities. It is through these activities that Pascal met Alain Rollat and Frédéric Carencotte and was introduced to Carester’s project. He joined the project, motivated by a desire to convey his know-how, and convinced that the skills brought together by the new French company were unique, given the level of expertise of its members, and their cooperative nature. He believed that this made it a key player in the future of the rare earth sector; one that shares both knowledge and an ethical outlook.

Jean-Paul Tognet // 45 years of experience in rare earth elements
Jean-Paul Tognet is a chemical engineer and graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Ingénieurs en Arts Chimiques et Technologiques [National Institute for Engineers in Chemical Arts and Technologies] in Toulouse (ENSCT1968) and the National Institute for Science and Nuclear Techniques (Grenoble Polytechnical Institute 1969). He is an international speaker and an author of patents in the phosphate and rare earth mining sector.
Like his new colleagues at Carester, Jean-Paul Tognet has remained faithful to Rhône- Poulenc/Rhodia/Solvay throughout his industrial career, which began in 1969 with a role as mineralogy and mineral processing engineer. He subsequently went on to manage the body responsible for coordinating rare earth factories in Rhône-Poulenc and Rhodia: La Rochelle, Freeport (Texas), Anan Kasei (Japan), Pinjarra (Australia) and Baotou (China). Jean-Paul ended his career in the post of Global Manager, where he was responsible for the raw materials needed for rare earth production in La Rochelle (France), Baotou and Liyang (China).
He is a specialist in enrichment processes and the chemical etching of rare earth minerals and in the optimisation of these two stages.

Gabriel Vilmin / 23 years of experience in Rare Earths

Gabriel Vilmin is a graduate engineer from the National Superior School of Chemistry of Strasbourg and has 35 years of experience within the Rhône Poulenc / Rhodia / Solvay group, 23 of which have been in Rare Earths.

He began his career in 1985 in R&D in the field of inorganic chemistry, first at Penn State University in the synthesis of nano-composites, then at Aubervilliers where he worked on the synthesis of rare earth-based ceramic powders (YSZ structural ceramics, BaTiO3 functional ceramics, YBaCuO superconducting ceramics) and then in the United States, where he contributed to the development of rare-earth oxides for automotive catalysis at the Freeport plant. During this period in R&D, he was the author or co-author of 9 patents.

In 1995, he turned to industrial processes and took on responsibilities for managing construction and start-up projects for rare earth production units (pigments, mixed oxides for automotive catalysis, recycling), for managing continuous improvement programs for the Silica business, for plant management (Silica at Collonges au Mt d'Or) and for industrial management, in particular supervising Rare Earth production sites in China, Japan and France.

At the beginning of 2021, he'll join Carester to put his industrial experience at the service of an ambitious project, Caremag, in an agile structure whose values he fully shares.

A double vision

Carester is therefore paving the way in the rare earth market. Through its commitment to enabling and allowing its distinguished experts’ to pass on their knowledge to the next generation, together with its investment in researching innovative procedures, Carester has undoubtedly positioned itself as tomorrow’s great pioneer. Carester is certainly able to make a contribution to rare earth geopolitics.

The key aim is the continuation of know-how and expertise

Today, China holds a quasi monopoly on the rare earth sector. It is vital for our geopolitical organisation to pass down the knowledge that exists outside of Asia and strengthen the European voice in the rare earth market. This state of transition will certainly strengthen Carester’s position, as, from the outset of its activities, the company has offered a training programme for young chemists.

This programme is aimed at established young doctoral students, engineers and technicians with previous theoretical training who wish to gain further expertise through industrial know- how.

The desire to develop research into new processes and become involved in the recycling of rare earth goods in Europe.

With new applications, use of rare-earth elements will become centred on the production of permanent magnets used in equipment focused on energy transition. Having secured the durability of its expertise, Carester’s next mission is to highlight its experience in recycling end-of-life equipment and become a leading player in implementing a recycling chain for rare earth goods from permanent magnets. Through Carester, Frédéric Carencotte’s had a vision of offering a car manufacturer in a country or even a continent the ability to increase its independence.


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