During the European Commission Raw Materials Week, the Cluster Hub Annual Meeting took place on 16 November 2023. This meeting gathered 12 representatives from different EU-funded projects to participate in the Cluster Hub “Production of Raw Materials for Batteries from European resources”, which emphasised collaborative efforts towards sustainable battery production.
The meeting was divided into three parts: the initial project introductions followed by two panel discussions. Benjamin P. Wilson, a Senior Scientist, from Aalto University in Finland, represented the RESPECT project, setting the tone for a diverse and collaborative exchange of ideas.
The first panel "Raw Materials through Research & Science" delved into preliminary findings from various projects. Discussions, steered by Xochitl Dominguez Benetton from the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), centred on gas diffusion electro-crystallization (GDEx), a technology employed in projects including RHINOCEROS, LICORNE, and CRM Geothermal. Dr. Benetton highlighted the importance of the Battery Passport Initiative as a structural framework fostering sustainable and circular practices in battery production.
The second panel focused on the roles and challenges faced by the industry and market for Raw Materials. Edvarts Emerson of Watt4Ever presented acceptance criteria and guidelines for efficient module selection for second-life batteries from electric vehicles as part of the RHINOCEROS project. Addressing an inquiry on obstacles in direct cathode recycling, Dr. Wilson emphasised the need for a combination of existing technologies and accumulated experience between collaborators to ensure successful scale-up.
The third panel, dedicated to social acceptance, sustainability, and durability of raw materials, featured insights from the EXCEED project. The importance of Social Life-Cycle Assessment and the social impact of sourcing secondary raw materials were highlighted. Subsequent discussions raised a crucial question: "How can mining be made appealing to society in the future, and what instruments are required for this purpose?". Partners from the EXCEED project also announced the launch of the documentary film "Made in Europe: From Mine to Electric Vehicle," produced in collaboration with SIM² KU Leuven.
The meeting concluded with remarks from Samuel Hoefman from the RELiEF project, expressing gratitude to participants and underscoring the significance of collaboration among consortium partners.
The Cluster Hub "Cluster Hub for production of raw materials for batteries from European resources" is a knowledge exchange ecosystem that promotes collaboration among research institutes, industry stakeholders, and innovation leaders. By prototyping ideas and fostering cooperation, the platform aims to drive the recycling of batteries and the production of raw materials from primary and secondary resources in Europe, contributing to a more sustainable future in battery technology and beyond.