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Mining, metals and minerals
A Better Life with MgO: a flue gas desulphurisation process with a positive net environmental impact
LIFEPOSITIVEMgOFDG - a project co-financed under the EU's LIFE programme - is about designing and implementing a novel technique for air pollution abatement which respects circular economy principles.
The European Policy Centre’s (EPC) Task Force called Digital Roadmap to Circular Economy has explored the linkages between digitalisation and circular economy, the opportunities created by data and digitally-enabled solutions, and the challenges associated with harnessing their full potential for the transition to a circular economy.
The project represents a pioneering endeavour in exploring the interconnections between the digital and green transformations and considers the implications for EU policymaking.
The final publication The circular economy: Going digital and its executive summary show that digitalisation can offer enormous possibilities for the transition to a more sustainable, circular economy but it is essential to steer it in the right direction.
In April 2020, European Aluminium launched its Circular Aluminium Action Plan, a strategy for achieving aluminium’s full potential for a circular economy by 2030.
Circular Aluminium Action Plan: A Strategy for Achieving Aluminium's Full Potential for Circular Economy by 2030
The Circular Aluminium Action Plan is the aluminium sector’s strategy for achieving aluminium’s full potential for a circular economy by 2030. The action plan aims to ensure that all end-of-life aluminium products are collected and recycled efficiently in Europe to maximise the aluminium recycling rates and to keep the material in active use. It builds on the aluminium industry’s Vision 2050 and provides policy recommendations for the sector.
The aluminium industry has the potential to be a key driver in achieving Europe’s ambitions for a climate-neutral and circular economy. Aluminium is by nature circular and fit for multiple recycling: it can be recycled over and over again without losing its original properties (lightness, conductivity, formability, durability, impermeability).
The Data Centre Industry (DCI) is one of the most important pillars of current technological and economic developments.
In DCIs, more than fifty different materials can be found per product, including ferrous, non-ferrous metals, precious metals (PM), platinum group metals (PGM), rare earth elements (REE), plastics and/or ceramics, some being considered as Critical Raw Materials (CRMs).
This assessment aims to study DCI design and material composition (specifically servers and switches), as well as to analyse their performance in a circular economy and provide recommendations for ecodesign guidelines.
ekolive provides a new innovative eco-/biological method of zero-waste mining and processing of local primary and secondary raw materials, aimed at creating local resources of metals and minerals.
Research on Remelting and Purification of Si-kerf for PV wafers is part of CABRISS, a European collaboration aimed to develop a circular economy mainly for the photovoltaic but also other industries such as electronics or metallurgy.
During production of silicon wafers out of silicon (Si) ingots and wafers, about 40–50% of the material is lost due to the cutting technique. The research had kerf from slurry based wafer cuttings undergoing several refining steps and being remelted into ingots for PV-application.
Conclusion: With 10% refined material, ingots were still directionally solidified, whereas with 100% refined material, they were not. The presented refining method does not allow for ingots with 100% refined material to be used as PV-material.
The project Recycling of broken Si based structures and solar cells is part of CABRISS, a European collaboration aimed to develop a circular economy mainly for the photovoltaic (PV), but also for other industries such as electronics or metallurgy.
The paper presents some tests in which broken solar cell structures coming from an early stage in the PV production process chain as well as broken finished solar cells have been recycled into new silicon (Si) feedstock through demetallisation, purification and directional solidification.
The paper explores two different routes to remove diffusion layers and anti-reflection coating (ARC) on broken cells. It also presents the characteristics of ingots produced with the Si-feedstock from the two routes by directional solidification.
The overall objective of BIORECOVER is the research and development of a new sustainable and safe process, essentially based on biotechnology, for selective extraction of a wide range of critical raw materials (CRMs) such as Rare Earths, Magnesium or Platinum Group Metals.
PLATIRUS project - meeting the PGM (Platinum Group Metals) supply gap by recovering materials from secondary resources
The PLATIRUS project seeks to address the European shortage of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) by recovering PGMs from alternative secondary resources. It has the potential to offer a substitute for a large proportion of these critical raw materials which are becoming ever more scarce.
Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are considered as "key enablers" of green technologies. However, they are also the elements with the highest supply risk.
The EU funded project REE4EU has developed processes that may help to regain REEs from RE-containing waste streams.
CABRISS: pioneering reusing and recovering Indium, Silicon and Silver materials for photovoltaic industry and other applications
The EU-funded CABRISS project aims at pioneering a circular economy dedicated to handling the critical situation of recycling the considerable amount of photovoltaic waste for the photovoltaic, but also for the electronic and glass industry.
For our future electricity system, a significant amount of wind and solar energy is required. In turn, these energy technologies require some specific critical metals. The current global supply of several critical metals is insufficient to guarantee a transition to a renewable energy system.
Calculations for The Netherlands show that additional wind turbines and photovoltaic panels already require a significant share of the annual global production of some critical metals.
This report outlines the magnitude of the issue and the complexity of the supply chain. It also identifies various paths towards solutions.
This factsheet on Metal Recycling developed by EuRIC highlights the importance of both ferrous and non-ferrous metal recycling and their substantial benefits for the environment and the economy in Europe. The Brochure outlines the environmental benefits, the economic and international trade aspects of steel, aluminium and copper recycling.
ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, is carrying out research into lithium-sulphur batteries to make them more competitive.
The International Cradle to Cradle Congress - the world's largest platform for C2C - will take place in Berlin from 31 January to 1 February 2020.
The World Resources Forum (WRF) 2019 will be held from 23 to 24 October 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. WRF 2019 will be centered on ‘Anchoring Natural Resources and Raw Materials Management for Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production’.
ZERO BRINE is running a pilot project to recover valuable resources from wastewater in the Polish mining industry so that they can be reused in other sectors.
Interested in saving energy and recovering resources from wastewater in the mining industry? Join the ZERO BRINE stakeholders on a site visit on 8 October 2019 in Katowice, Poland.
MRE 2020 is taking place on 18–20 February 2020 at the Business Design Centre in London to develop the commercial success of UK-generated materials innovation.
For four days in 2019, more than 750 company leaders, scientists and policy makers from all over the world came to Antwerp for the World Resources Forum organised by OVAM - the Public Waste Agency of Flanders featuring sessions on the power of the circular economy and the link with climate change, and an introduction to numerous pioneering projects and initiatives that are driving the transition.
The Challenges, Opportunities and Pathways for European Business in Circular Economy report is a EUROCHAMBRES initiative launched in order to better understand if and how the circular economy will benefit European businesses, and to delineate a successful transition. This will be the basis for a policy strategy to contribute to an enriching debate on future legislative proposals at European level.
This report is a comprehensive meta-analysis of the most up-to-date quantitative studies on the circular economy, and elaborates on nine industrial sectors (agriculture, construction, mobility, hospitality and food services, metal manufacturing, electronics, textile, food & drink manufacturing, and plastics) including case studies. Bearing in mind the future of European manufacturing industries and businesses, the paper focuses on European trends derived from available data regarding investment costs, cost savings, and investment opportunities.
The EU faces multiple challenges (climate crisis, environmental disasters, a lack of competitiveness, falling behind in the digital race, etc.) that it will need to address if it is to ensure long-term sustainable prosperity for European citizens. At the same time, there are two ongoing transitions – the creation of a circular economy and the digital transformation – that could provide the means to address these challenges, if they are managed well.
As the EU and national policymakers are making significant efforts to promote a circular economy on the one hand and a digital economy on the other, Annika Hedberg and Stefan Šipka, together with Johan Bjerkem, argue that it is time to align the agendas as a means to achieve greater sustainability and competitiveness.
- demonstrates what digitalisation means in the context of a circular economy;
- considers what a greater focus on sustainability would mean for the digital transition;
- examines the role of the EU policy framework, tools and initiatives in steering a (digital) transition towards a (digital) circular economy and makes recommendations for EU institutions for the next five year.
It suggests that the EU must:
- think systemically, define a vision and act;
- provide an adequate governance framework and economic incentives for a (digital) transition to a (digital) circular economy;
- encourage collaboration across European society and economy as well as globally, and empower its citizens to contribute to the transition.
This Discussion Paper builds on the findings of the EPC’s "Digital Roadmap for a Circular Economy" project of 2017-19 and paves the way for a more extensive final study, scheduled to be published in the late autumn of 2019.
The project has been supported by Aalto University and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) (members of Helsinki EU Office), Central Denmark region, Climate-KIC, the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, Estonian Environment Investment Centre, HP, Orgalim, the province of Limburg, UL, Fondazione Cariplo and Cariplo Factory.
REDEL is an energy provider in Italy. Its activities comprise decommissioning outdated energy installations. The PVC Upcycling project aims to initiate a circular model for reclaiming resources by:
- de-manufacturing: recovering the PVC of electric cables coming from decommissioned energy plants;
- re-manufacturing: recycling of the same PVC in products.