Universiteit Leiden

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Research project


How can we ensure a more resilient and sustainable supply of Rare Earths in the EU in the future?

2022 - 2026
Rene Kleijn
European Union grant agreement number 101058598 European Union grant agreement number 101058598
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant number 10038960

Hochschule Pforzheim (Germany)
Steinbeis Innovation GmbH (Germany)
Institut Jozef Stefan (Slovenia)
Valeo Equipements Electriques Moteur (France)
Rise Research Institutes Of Sweden (Sweden)
Inserma Anoia (Spain)
Mkango Polska (Poland)
Kolektor Group (Slovenia)
Circularise (Netherlands)
Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg (Germany)
Hypromag GmbH (Germany)
Universitat für Weiterbildung Krems (Austria)
Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands)
Carester (France)
Rare Earth Industry Association (Belgium)

Short abstract

Resilient and sustainable Rare Earths supply chains for the e-mobility, renewable energy ecosystems and strategic sectors.

Project description

Rare Earths (RE) are crucial materials for Europe's successful green and digital transition, thus classified as highly critical. The market for RE magnets itself is relatively small - about €6.5 billion - however its downstream leverage is enormous: the mobility business in the EU27 alone is expected to grow to about €500 billion by 2030, with 6 million jobs.

While being a world leader in the manufacturing of e.g. electric motors, the EU27 is fully import-dependent along the entire value chain of RE magnet materials. China has a monopoly in the RE supply chain, across all stages from mining to refining. To overcome this issue, REEsilience will build a production system that ensures a resilient and sustainable supply chain for RE as critical raw materials for the e-mobility, renewable energy and further strategic sectors in Europe with less dependencies on non-European economies.

Leiden University contributes to this by assessing the sustainability of these alternative supply chains, e.g. through Life Cycle Assessment, and by exploring the recycling potential of permanent magnets, e.g. through Material Flow Analysis. This ensures a more resilient and sustainable supply of Rare Earths in the EU in the future.

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