Friday, 30 January 2015

Innovative technologies and robust policies needed for CRM substitution in Europe

The SusChem inspired FP7 project CRM_InnoNet is organising its third Strategic Innovation Network workshop in Brussels on 11 February 2015. This workshop will showcase Europe’s innovative projects and substitution technologies for critical raw materials (CRM) that can be applied to different strategic sectors such as energy, transport, ICT and electronics. 

The objective of the workshop is to discuss and exchange ideas on the strategy and steps that Europe will need to follow in the near future to tackle the supply risk to critical raw materials. Securing availability and access to critical raw materials constitutes a strategic objective for the EU political and economic agenda. Key EU industrial sectors that depend on access to critical raw materials, such as automotive, machinery, chemicals, aerospace and construction, provide a total added value of €1,324 billion and 30 million jobs for Europe.

Essential elements
Critical raw materials such as rare earth elements are essential to industrial production, particularly for clean energy options such as wind turbines, solar cells, electric vehicles and energy-efficient lighting. The scarcity of critical raw materials, together with their economic importance, makes it very important to explore new avenues towards substitution in order to reduce the EU’s consumption and decrease the relative dependence upon imports.

The main topics to be addressed at the workshop include substitution technologies related to critical raw materials in:
  • Permanent Magnets
  • Catalysts 
  • Electronics
  • Photonics
Following two very successful workshops in 2013 and 2014, this will be the project’s final innovation network workshop and is open to all stakeholders involved in the critical raw materials value chain and willing to exchange ideas and visions for enhancing the competitiveness of EU research, development and innovation, industry and economy in the area of substitution of Critical Raw Materials. A flyer for the event can be downloaded here and the event agenda is available here.

The event is taking place at the Diamant Conference and Business Centre in Brussels. Registration for the workshop is free and is open now. For more information on this event, please contact PNO consultants, Dr. Nader Akil.

Public consultation
In addition the project has just launched a Public Consultation on the Roadmaps for Substitution of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs). CRM_InnoNet  has developed Research and Innovation Roadmaps for five applications, which are most likely under threat from CRM related supply bottlenecks. These are:
  • Electric Motor & Drives
  • Batteries & Accumulators
  • High-value Alloys
  • Photonics including High-end Optics
  • Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) and Electronic Components
These roadmaps have been elaborated in consultation with external experts capturing options and timelines for substituting critical raw materials up to the year 2030. The project is now inviting feedback on the roadmaps as final validation stage before publication for the first three themes above (Electric motors and drives, batteries and accumulators, and high-value alloys). Consultation on the roadmaps for the themes photonics and PCBs will be launched later in the year.

The consultation including the roadmap drafts can be accessed via the CRM_InnoNet website and the closing date for feedback on the first three topics is Friday 27 February 2015.

If you have any questions on the consultation process, please contact the CRM_InnoNet secretariat.

What is the CRM_InnoNet Innovation Network?
The CRM_InnoNet Innovation Network is a proactive and dynamic network of key stakeholders from industry, academia and other organisations interested in the substitution of critical raw materials. The network provides an identity and focus for researchers and businesses with an interest in substitution, drawing together a community which contains representatives from different disciplines and sectors together with a focus on substitution for the first time.

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