European Call for Action on Materials For Energy Storage and Conversion

BERLIN, 31 May – EIT RawMaterials and the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) have released the “European Call for Action on Materials For Energy Storage and Conversion,” a roadmap that, if followed and given an investment of at least €15bn, could supply many of the EU’s raw materials needs by 2030 and beyond.

Climate change calls for a swift and bold transformation of the economy. Metals and minerals are key enablers of the European Green Deal and crucial for the shift from a linear brown to a circular green economy. Hence, the challenge of securing the exponentially growing demand for raw materials has now been elevated to the top of the political agenda. In March, the EU launched its proposed legal framework, the Critical Raw Materials Act[1] (CRMA), which is viewed by the metals and minerals sector as the most vital action needed to reform the industry.

The European Call for Action on Materials For Energy Storage and Conversion provides a roadmap for developing an entire raw materials value chain, from exploration to recycling. It addresses four primary strategic areas: materials in solar energy, battery materials, fuel cells, electrolysis, and alternative energy storage and conversion.

With the rise of solar, wind, and fuel cell technologies, more and more renewable energy will be produced, requiring high volumes of raw materials, many of which are critical and not found easily in Europe. Many energy sources, such as wind and solar power, are intermittent, meaning, that they are not always available or consistent. Systems that provide energy storage and conversion help to support the variability of these sources and ensure that energy is available when needed.

“For the past two years, we have seen a sudden surge in geopolitical disruption and instability that has shaken Europe to the core. Europe needs to rapidly expand and develop its own domestic raw materials pipeline to feed the renewables sector, like wind turbines and solar panels, but also other industry sectors, such as defense and e-mobility. Europe must ramp up extraction and processing capacities domestically, which will not only decarbonize industry but also provide robust quantities of feedstock to enable a fully functioning recycling economy for raw materials,” says Bernd Schäfer, CEO, Managing Director, EIT RawMaterials.

This fundamentally important report, which is the culmination of a highly open and inclusive process involving over 100 ERMA stakeholders, highlights investments and opportunities, outlines concrete actions and recommendations, and addresses policy bottlenecks and raw materials demand gaps. Following through with the proposed actions and supporting them with the right financial investments will be crucial steps toward achieving the ambitious goals of the Green Deal.

In the context of the twin green and digital transition, Europe must anticipate and quantify the enormous raw materials investment needs that are necessary to feed the transformational requirements for energy storage and conversion.

Important Documents:

European Call for Action on Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion

[1] EU Critical Raw Materials Act, which has yet to enter force, the bloc has set 2030 targets for the minerals required for its green transition – 10% of annual needs mined, 15% recycled and 40% processed in Europe.