EU action plan starts with magnet recycling
Europe begins its journey toward carbon neutrality by 2050 Metal Tech News – October 6, 2021
Last updated 10/6/2021 at 8:12am
The European Raw Materials Alliance released its action plan to secure access to rare earth elements for the industrial sector in the European Union. Detailed in a 38-page report published on Sept. 30, the plan outlines current and projected European demand for REEs and steps that should be taken to secure their supply.
"The EU has committed to the goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050. The raw materials needs to facilitate this energy transition are massive, and Europe urgently needs to secure their supply. This action plan outlines the steps we must take to ensure that the rare earth elements upon which the EU Green Deal relies remain available for European industry and society," said Bernd Schäfer, CEO of EIT RawMaterials, the innovation community that manages the European Raw Materials Alliance.
Following along the global trend of decarbonization and the transition to clean energy, ERMA has addressed the main challenges connected to raw materials supply for Europe in thematic clusters. The first of these topical clusters is on rare earth magnets and motors.
You can read about one of the steps Europe is taking with rare earth magnets at Recycling loudspeaker magnets for REEs in this week's edition of Metal Tech News.
With the input of more than 180 stakeholders, ERMA has developed the action plan to highlight the challenges related to the highly vulnerable global rare earth supply chain and to provide specific actions that the EU, its Member States, industry, and innovation communities should implement with the aim of triggering a disruptive change to diversify EU supply chains.
The action plan contains 12 actions that are summarized in four key recommendations:
• European policymakers need to create a level playing field, since the cost of EU production is intrinsically higher than the Chinese production cost, which is massively lowered by a set of direct and indirect state subsidies.
• European OEMs (original equipment manufacturers, in this case the producers of components making use of rare earths) need to consider potential commitments to buying a significant percentage of rare earth materials from European producers.
• The EU needs to ensure that end-of-life products and waste materials containing rare earths stay in Europe, facilitating their reprocessing and recycling.
• There is a unique opportunity to trigger large private investments in the emerging European rare earths value chain by match funding. For this reason, the EU and its member states should pull all financial levers including state aid, such as a dedicated important project of common European interest.
Presently, the European Raw Materials Alliance is working on a second action plan covering the materials for energy storage and conversion, such as batteries, fuel cells, solar and hydrogen and other alternative energy storage and conversion systems.