Anna Vanderbruggen wins EIT Change Award for Graphite Recycling Solution
French scientist, Anna Vanderbruggen, whom EIT RawMaterials nominated, has won the prestigious EIT Change Award for her pioneering work on graphite recycling. Her solution enables European recyclers to recover tonnes of graphite needed for lithium-ion batteries to power renewable energy technologies across the continent. Commenting on the award, Bernd Schäfer CEO of EIT RawMaterials, said:
Huge congratulations to Anna Vanderbruggen, our finalist from EIT RawMaterials, on winning the EIT Change Award for her groundbreaking graphite recycling solution. It is exactly this level of innovation that will enable Europe to achieve the goals of the green transition and we are so proud to have supported her journey.
Bernd Schäfer, CEO of EIT RawMaterials
The EIT Awards 2022 were announced at the EIT Summit, organised by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), in Brussels on 11 October 2022. The event marked the end of the EIT INNOVEIT Weeks, a ten week, pan-European showcase of the leading innovations and entrepreneurial achievements of the EIT ecosystem.
The Award-Winning Graphite Recycling Solution
Anna is the first scientist to solve the issue of recycling high-quality graphite from used lithium-ion batteries. Her method also allows the simultaneous recycling of valuable metals like cobalt, nickel, and lithium. The solution enables European recyclers to recover tonnes of graphite needed for lithium-ion batteries. These batteries will power the green energy transition in Europe.
Graphite is a critical raw material for Europe’s key industrial ecosystems that makes up 15-25% of lithium-ion batteries. Europe currently imports 98% of the graphite it needs while having no recycling process for the graphite contained in used batteries. Anna’s solution will help to supply the growing demand for batteries and will also help towards reducing dependency on China for imported graphite.
You can read more detail about Anna’s superb work in The Superhero of European Graphite Recycling.
European Commission highlights EIT RawMaterials Progress
Also at the EIT Summit, leading voices of the European Commission highlighted the progress achieved by EIT RawMaterials in accelerating Europe’s progress on the twin green and digital transition. Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations, said the energy crisis and illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine had underlined the urgency of delivering the European Green Deal.
He emphasised the work of EIT RawMaterials on propelling forward the green transition and securing Europe’s open strategic autonomy:
With EIT RawMaterials in the lead, we are developing the European Raw Materials Alliance to secure access to raw materials for our sustainable and circular economy. The Alliance’s efforts are already showing positive results with the first pipeline of projects under preparation.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations
Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva, Director for Innovation, Digital Education and International Cooperation, European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC), also singled out EIT RawMaterials for action on key priority areas related to the EU’s ambitions on the green and digital transition:
We are happy to see that the EIT’s Knowledge Innovation Communities are delivering on priority policy areas – such as batteries and raw materials.
Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva, Director for Innovation, Digital Education and International Cooperation, European Commission, DG EAC
A Deep Tech Talent Initiative for Europe
EIT also announced a new flagship innovation programme that will lead Europe’s deep tech innovation wave. The Deep Tech Talent Initiative will train one million innovators by 2025. Europe lacks the talent and skilled labour force necessary to properly leverage the new technologies to enable the twin green and digital transition. The new initiative aims to address this gap, in line with the New European Innovation Agenda, by developing a robust deep tech talent pool across all EU member states.
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, officially launched the programme. She said that the EIT Community would be critical to achieving the deep tech innovation ambitions across the continent:
We need talented people seeking solutions, nurtured by the rich and well-supported pan-European deep tech innovation ecosystem with the EIT Community as its cornerstone, that believes in their ideas, talent, and perseverance.
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth
Nektarios Tavernarakis, EIT Governing Board Chair, said the EIT community is in a firm position to lead the new deep tech innovation wave across Europe:
EIT has a key role in delivering the ambitions of the European Innovation Agenda and we will continue to create an inclusive innovation landscape that includes female entrepreneurs. We will continue to strengthen innovation ecosystems in those areas of the continent where innovation is not yet what we strive for, and we stand ready to lead the programme on deep tech talent with the launch of the Deep Tech Talent Initiative.
Nektarios Tavernarakis, EIT Governing Board Chair
All EIT partners, including EIT RawMaterials partners, are invited to join the initiative through the Call for Pledges. Find the full details on the EIT website.