Lighthouses are large-scale and long-term coordinated innovation initiatives that address critical and specific raw materials challenges for Europe. They are mission approaches to innovation and education challenges, directly steering EIT RawMaterials activities towards the achievement of its strategic objectives. The long-term objectives and main KPIs of EIT RawMaterials will thus be achieved more efficiently through the lighthouse programmes.

Lighthouses will generate tangible solutions to societal challenges that have raw materials at their core. In doing so, they will enable the EIT RawMaterials to raise awareness of the role and importance of raw materials in a sustainable society and create a positive perception of raw materials and their associated industries.

Implementation

Lighthouses will be implemented through operational actions such as innovation projects (KAVAs), matchmaking events and business support activities as well as:

  • Strategic actions in close coordination with external stakeholders
  • The European Commission
  • National initiatives and cross-KIC initiatives

Implementation of the Lighthouses will be facilitated by allocating a portion of EIT RawMaterials resources to them, and by supporting partners to develop their innovation activities accordingly. There are three Lighthouses planned for 2019-2020 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. EIT RawMaterials Lighthouses

Two Lighthouses to be initiated in 2018:

  • Raw Materials and Circular Societies
  • Sustainable Materials for Future Mobility

At least one additional Lighthouse to be implemented in 2019:

  • Sustainable Discovery and Supply

Raw Materials and Circular Societies Lighthouse

Challenge: The United Nations estimates that by 2030 about 5 billion people will live in cities. Today, cities account for 60% to 80% of global energy consumption and 75% of global carbon emissions while using only 3% of the land. Raw, processed and advanced materials, from primary and secondary sources, are the backbone of a basic urban infrastructure. The sustainability of modern urban environments and the successful transition to the circular economy on a global scale, depend on the reliable and sustainable supply and management of raw materials.

Approach: Optimise the efficient discovery, characterisation, processing and flow of materials across the urban environment moving towards ‘zero waste’, a core concept of the circular economy.

Impact: The Lighthouse will integrate results, knowledge and data into a digital map of resource locations and their flows within cities, and between cities and the surrounding environment ‘smart materials grid’. This Lighthouse is aligned with the EU Circular Economy Package and the EU Zero Waste strategy to achieve a circular society.

Figure 2. Raw Materials and Circular Societies Lighthouse

Strategic Actions:

  • Initiate and strengthen collaboration with industrial associations (e.g., Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE), Factories of the Future (FoF)) on the circular economy.
  • Initiate contacts with European city associations to define ways of collaboration; facilitate synergy workshop series. Strengthen the existing collaboration with the European Commission (DG Grow (including the Executive Agency for SMEs, EASME), DG Environment, DG RTD, DG Regio) on Circular Cities. Organise an impact assessment workshop bringing together projects from Horizon 2020 and EIT regarding Circular Cities.
  • Integrate existing and new databases on the circular economy in the RM InfoCenter.
  • Create a cross-KIC working group on Circular Cities for a possible joint call. Create an advisory board (including members external to the EIT RawMaterials partnership) to support EIT RawMaterials in discussion groups, policy groups, working groups, etc.

Sustainable Materials for Future Mobility Lighthouse

Challenge: Mobility is essential for rapidly changing modern society and an important economic factor in European industrial competitiveness. Emerging energy and mobility technologies create a strong demand for raw materials, and for some critical raw materials, this demand will dramatically exceed current production in the next 10 to 15 years. Limited access to these materials might negatively impact the mobility transition, therefore reducing the competitiveness of European companies.

Approach: Support innovation activities and critical knowledge to solve challenges in the mobility sector.

Impact: This Lighthouse focuses on the raw materials and advanced materials for two key innovation trends in mobility: Electrification (Materials: fuel cells, magnets, batteries, e-drives) and Lightweight design (Materials: steels, composites, multimaterials, non-ferrous alloys). It coordinates materials-related innovation actions across the mobility value chains with respect to exploration, mining, processing, recycling, substitution and the implementation of the circular economy.

Raw and advanced materials needs in battery cell manufacturing 

Figure 3. LG Chemcell (image source: electrive.com)

Example case LG Chemcell manufacturing (according to Roskill 2018, assuming 100% NMC532)

  • 90 GWh production capacity
  • 100 kt of cathode materials
  • 40 kt nickel
  • 22 kt cobalt
  • 16 kt manganese
  • 50 kt lithium (carbonate equivalent)
  • 90 kt of anode materials which could be 100% graphite

By 2025, between 400 and 600 GWhcell manufacturing capacity is needed for the global automotive market alone (DERA 2018).

Strategic Actions:

  • Strengthen the role of EIT RawMaterials in relevant industrial alliances (e.g., the European Battery Alliance (EBA), the Energy Materials Industrial Research Initiative (EMIRI), the European Association for Electromobility (AVERE), and the International Energy Agency (IEA-HEV-TCP).
  • Influence policymaking at European and national levels to support innovation actions in sectors of raw and advanced materials for mobility.
  • Support policy makers in improving regulations (e.g., exploration and extraction permitting, waste directives, battery directives) and in sourcing mobility materials from third countries.
  • Minimise risk and leverage large investment funding for (pilot) industrial plants through public and private investors.
  • Develop a data intelligence service to support emerging industry players in mobility value chains.
  • Business creation – facilitation of industrial alliances through events and bilateral meetings, start-up support, compilation of feasibility studies linked to upscaling projects.
  • Create an advisory board (including members external to the EIT RawMaterials partnership) to support EIT RawMaterials in discussion groups, policy groups, working groups, etc.

Sustainable and Responsible Discovery and Supply Lighthouse

Challenge: European industries depend on raw, processed and advanced materials but these are not produced locally, therefore, the EU has a significant import dependency and is vulnerable to scarcity and supply shortage. Resources, both primary and secondary, exist in Europe but these are not fully exploited because of public concern over the sustainability of exploration, mining and processing operations.

Approach: Provide technological innovation to develop exploration, mining and processing capabilities. Focus on exploration, mining and processing of primary and secondary raw materials, and on public acceptance.

Impact: This Lighthouse will promote the benefits of strong minerals and materials sector in modern society and the transition towards the green and circular economy.

Figure 4. Sustainable Discovery and Supply Lighthouse

Strategic Actions:

  • Strengthen the role of EIT RawMaterials in relevant industrial alliances (e.g., Euromines).
  • Influence policymaking at European and national levels to support innovation actions.
  • Support policymakers in improving regulations (e.g., exploration and extraction permitting, waste directives, and in sourcing raw materials from sustainably from third countries).
  • Leverage large investment funding for (pilot) industrial plants through public and private investors.
  • Business creation – facilitation of industrial alliances through events and bilateral meetings, start-up support, compilation of feasibility studies linked to upscaling projects.
  • Create an advisory board (including members external to the EIT RawMaterials partnership) to support EIT RawMaterials in discussion groups, policy groups, working groups, etc.