Making mobility more sustainable

Raw materials shape, influence and impact a wide variety of industries, and they are essential to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the EU Green Deal. Raw materials power electric vehicles and are a driving force in the future of transportation.

The third edition of the RACE (Raw & Circular Economy Expedition) created a platform for sustainability pioneers to connect, learn, and innovate for the pressing raw material challenges for Future Mobility. RACE 2021 brought together partners from across the future of the mobility supply chain around Europe. RACE partners provided real industry challenges and plenary talks to help motivate sustainability pioneers to develop real solutions for future mobility issues. 150+ students from 15+ universities participated in RACE 2021 – a three-week, challenge-based learning journey across the raw materials value chain made possible by the EIT RawMaterials Academy.

Diversity across RACE

We are proud to encourage diversity among our participants. This year, we had registrants from 46 different nationalities, specialising in diverse academic backgrounds and universities, including geology, mining engineering, materials sciences, resources management, chemical engineering, and industrial ecology. RACE 2021 had 26% female participants, and we are looking forward to more female participants next year! 

Hackathon challenges

Future Mobility has become a staggering challenge faced across the world. In total, eight teams participated in the RACE’s Hackathon. They chose one challenge from those provided by partners. To help them prepare their solutions, the teams received four different sessions of plenary talks from 12 experts in the domain. In addition, they also received mentoring and pitching sessions and three virtual tours of facilities from AUDI AGBoliden, and Umicore to help them think outside of the box.

The challenges were based on real raw materials challenges faced by the industry as they were provided directly from our partners:

  • Erion Energy: How can Erion Energy create a sustainable value chain in order to increase lithium battery collection (especially from micro e-mobility), create new end-of-life routes, and reduce recycling costs?
  • Finnish Minerals Group: How can traceability become a competitive advantage for Europe and us?
  • Eaton: How to attract people to Electric Vehicle development?
  • Energy & Strategy: Develop a new approach through which a kick e-scooter sharing service provider can overcome the current issues that characterise it (focusing on all the stages of an e-scooter lifespan).

Solving the challenge

The final day of the event was a pitching ceremony. The top teams presented their ideas and business solution in front of a live jury. Pitches were analysed, and the top two teams were declared as runner up and winner.

Winner team: LiCular

The team opted challenge of Erion Energy: How can Erion Energy create a sustainable value chain to increase lithium battery collection (especially from micro e-mobility), create new end-of-life routes, and reduce recycling costs?

Solution: Having end-users informed through third-party apps exchange batteries at Erion Energy vending machines with the use of ride incentives.

Runner-up team: Waste Tracking System

The team worked on the challenge by the Finnish Minerals Group: How can traceability become a competitive advantage for Europe and us?

Solution: Upstream traceable metals (cobalt) through waste rock mass balance estimation.

The winning team received a cash prize. Both the teams will receive additional training in the EIT Jumpstarter idea competition. This will help shape an early stage idea into a business plan and further into business.

We want to thank our partners AUDI AG, Boliden, Eaton, Erion Energy, Energy&Strategy, Finnish Minerals GroupImerys, NorthvoltUmicore for joining RACE 2021 and inspiring our participants to think outside the box and develop novel solutions to pressing industry challenges.

With virtual participation this year, teams seized the opportunity to take part in Hackathon and brought ideas to life. Stay tuned for the next edition of the RACE 2022!

EARLY BIRD registration for RACE 2022 is open