Resilient and sustainable rare earth supply chains the focus of a new EU project.
Europe wants to become climate-neutral and sustainable. Renewable energies and electromobility play an important role in this project. This goes hand in hand with increasing dependence on China, because permanent magnets made of rare earths such as neodymium are needed, among other things, for the technologies of the future. 98 percent of the magnet materials required in the European Union are imported from the People’s Republic.
The REEsilience project (REE = Rare Earth Element), which will start on May 1 of this year, is intended to explore ways to achieve independence in the supply of raw materials. The focus is on new production technologies, and transparency is to be ensured along the entire value chain with regard to ethical and ecological factors. REEsilience is being funded by the EU with a total of 12 million euros, almost 2.5 million euros of which will go to the Institute for Strategic Technology and Precious Metals (STI) at Pforzheim University. Its scientific director, Prof. Dr. Carlo Burkhardt, will also coordinate the project. This further increases the international importance of the institute, as Burkhardt is also coordinating the EU project SUSMAGPRO, which aims to increase the recycling share of magnetic materials.