On the 5th November 2014 the Members of the ETP SMR gathered together for the 5th ETP SMR General Meeting, held at the Metals Conference Centre Cooper in Brussels.
The Meeting has been an important forum for discussions on common activities, projects and future events. The members agreed to foster communications and collaborations with the European Technology Platforms as well as other key stakeholders. In this view, it was underlined the importance of disseminating more information to potential members: unlike other similar networks, ETP SMR integrates all stakeholders across the raw-material value chain, overcoming the traditional fragmentation of the mineral resources sector. This is considerably important for the various subjects involved in the raw materials industry. In order to achieve this goal, Members agreed for a broader commitment in addressing Horizon2020 Calls and participating in common projects according to a strategic approach with a close relation with the Knowledge Innovation Community on Raw Materials (KIC RM).
Finally, during the meeting Swerea MEFOS has been accepted as Full Member of ETP SMR, after a vote unanimously in favor. Swerea MEFOS is known over the world for its unique large-scale experimental equipment and its ability to conduct extremely large research projects within the areas such as process metallurgy, heating, machining, environment and energy technologies for mineral, etc.
The ETP SMR Foresight Workshop “Novel Materials for Energy Applications – Materials technologies vital to meet future energy needs” was held on the 6th November in Brussels. The workshop was focus in the Rare Earth Elements (REE), critical raw materials of high economic importance in various sectors.
Dr Evangelos Tzimas, Scientific/Technical Project Manager at the European Commission DG Joint Research Centre, presented the list of this critical raw materials explaining that the criticality is very dynamic, and depend on various energy sectors. If the supply of this elements is disrupted from the countries that export this elements, such as China, the European Industry will be on risk. However, there is a contradictory situation in Europe as we verify a growing demand of REEs. But, at the same time, the problematic around mining exploitation due to contamination and environmental impact leads us to an increased recycling and lower production. Several solutions were proposed. In order to overcome the supply risk of Rare Earth Elements we should reduce the quantity of REE, re-use applications and recycle the waste, bearing in mind that functional recycling is the ultimate goal in the point of view of energy efficiency. During the sessions living examples of this three important steps were given.
Investment on materials research, modelling and innovation needs of the European market on raw materials is essential to reduce fossil energy dependency, improve our environment, and reach a more sustainable raw minerals industry.