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Solutions for CRitical Raw materials - a European Expert Network

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SCRREEN (Solutions for CRitical Raw materials - a European Expert Network)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-12-31

In 2017, 27 materials were identified as critical. Some have been in this list because of their economic risk, some for their supply risk, some for both. If you are a researcher, entrepreneur, decision-maker with limited means/resources, interested in investing to mitigate the CRM issues, the list by itself cannot not orient your choice. By proposing a state of the art on the value chains of these CRMs, by analysing the future trends that are foreseen based on market evolution or upcoming technologies and by highlighting promising innovative fields, SCRREEN is a great support. To deliver this comprehensive review, SCRREEN relied on more than 150 experts who contributed directly (within the consortium) or indirectly (through their active participation in technical workshops). SCRREEN will ‘live on’ as long lasting network in order to maintain continuity and to ensure that the expertise, knowledge and data generated by the experts will be exploited to further strength Europe’s CRM Strategy.
Mapping, classification and analysis of stakeholders working in CRM sector and related issues were done. Mechanisms for engagement and plan for consultation were developed. SCRREEN Network was launched: 6 expert groups daily cooperated each other and with WPs, 4 workshop sessions were organised to the aim. First draft ideas for stabilisation of Network were shared. A CRM validation workshop was organised in coordination with JRC and DG GROW for the preparation of the 2020 CRM list. Public consultation is still running to expand the Network.

The current use of critical raw materials in the EU was examined based on available literature with additional own analysis. The results are documented in D2.1. Work in WP2.2 on exploring trends (technological, societal, etc.) affecting the future use of CRM was performed and documented (D2.2). Preparatory (original) work on WP2.3 was done and published in a peer-reviewed article and delivered (final version).

WP3 has mapped the primary and secondary CRM resources of Europe based on the list of 2017, producing three reports as deliverables. Primary CRM deposits exist throughout the EU and mine and industry wastes constitute a viable secondary resource base. The main problem with assessing CRM resources is lack of data both for primary and secondary CRM, in addition to the by-product nature of many CRM.

Main processing routes for CRM containing raw materials production were gathered and reviewed for primary and secondary sources. Additionally, circular economy and environmental aspects of CRM production were addressed. Sources as literature, industrial contacts, partners experience etc. were used as the basis for collection of information compiled in deliverables D4.1 D4.2 and D4.3 as outcomes.

Deliverable 5.1 provides a series of assessments of CRM and their current substitutability by use. These profiles are then used to inform the other tasks. Another task (T5.2) consisted in a detailed definition of the SRL scale according to the needs expressed by industrials. Then, substitution trajectories were selected based on knowledge gained in SCRREEN project on current and future use of CRMs, CRMs’ applications and their substitutability. Finally, Task 5.4 also produced a wide range of insights and opinions on CRM substitutability opportunities and issues.

Tasks focused on identifying pathways that could allow the EU to increase its CRM production and reduce its dependency by improving the primary and secondary production, by fostering the substitution, and adapting/developing new regulations/standards.

Work involved the identification, description and analysis of the most relevant business and policy issues which frame the value chain of CRMs in Europe (EU and Member State level). Main results indicate that the EU still remains vulnerable to supply disruptions. Domestic policies, legislation and standards are still not sufficiently focused on CRMs and substitution is not a priority.

The objectives of this work package targeted WEEE issues through two deliverables.

WP9 realised a map of the knowledge produced within the project (T9.1). The GeoSpatial Portal (T9.2) and the associated Document Management System (T9.3) are operational. The Decision Support System, based on an extension for CRM of the MICA System (T9.4) and the link with the RMIS are finalised, as well as applications ‘Why CRM matter’ and ‘Product Development Risk Thermometer’ (T9.5).

Actions of dissemination, communication and exploitation strategy outlined in D10.2 were implemented. Online presence was well-established by Twitter; project website was operative and regularly updated; several events have been attended/organised around EU. Flyers, posters, roll up have been designed and printed; publications and press releases have been published. Then, the final report was disseminated at the Final event (CRM event in Brussels in November 2019).

For the organisation of workshops the activities consisted in the definition of workshop objectives and invitations of selected project coordinators. Workshop participants have been provided with information material about projects participating to the CLUSTERING event. The final list of CRM projects was finalised.

The overall management of the project has been performed during this period, through meetings (plenary, ExCom, B2B), administrative and financial support (amendment process), logistics of the workshops and CRM event, communication with the European Commission.
After the identification of a first list of Experts and the initiation of the network, the SCRREEN partners mainly worked at drawing the state of art on Critical Raw Materials (CRMs). CRMs are identified based on a well-established methodology taking into account market information, substitution index and recyclability and these information is well capitalised in the related EU reports. The work done in SCRREEN brought wider information that are useful to identify the most promising CRM in which EU could invest more efforts to reduce its dependency. The information collected and analysed by SCRREEN covers five topics: 1/ the resources that could be available in Europe (both primary and secondary CRM resources); 2/ the current use of CRM and the potential new trends in the future years that could impact the markets (what are the CRMs that could become more crucial, or at the opposite what are the applications that could decrease or disappear…); 3/ what are the technologies currently used to produce these CRMs and do we have them in Europe; 4/ an update of the substitution profiles was done on the key CRMs; 5/ a status on national policy and regulatory frameworks as well as an identification of the relevant business and policy issues pertinent for CRM in Europe.
Finally the overall knowledge management structure has been defined and put in place and is now operational.
The impacts as defined in section 2.1 of the DoA are still up to date, in particular at the short term. By establishing the state of the art, SCRREEN has been drawing the CRM integrated value chain and the identification of pathways to reduce the EU dependency to CRM. The knowledge management portal contributes to the diffusion of the information.
The now constituted CRM Expert Network covers almost all the materials screened in the 2020 CRM assessment. An expert database has been developed and will be extended after SCRREEN.