A new EU project called METALLICO is looking into how battery metals such as lithium, cobalt, copper, manganese, and nickel can be extracted in a sustainable way from primary and secondary raw material sources. The project includes 23 partners from nine countries.
The four-year project aims to optimise five innovative and sustainable processes for the extraction and recovery of these metals and demonstrate them on an industrially relevant scale in case studies. The consortium’s main objective is to develop new and previously unexploited sources of raw materials in the EU and thus reduce dependencies. IDENER Research and Development AIE from Spain acts as project coordinator.
Part of the project is creating an open-source digital platform to help identify and characterise primary and secondary battery metal sources. In addition, the partners want to use digital twins of innovative production and recycling facilities to simulate the efficiency and the economic, environmental and social impact of certain raw material extraction processes. The results could pave the way for new mining and metal recycling facilities investments.
“The new processes will enable industry to develop significant quantities of new, currently unused or under-utilised resources in the EU,” says María González-Moya Jiménez of coordinator IDENER. “This will help reduce dependence on volatile raw material markets and ensure the availability of metals in the battery sector, but also in other industrial sectors.”
In addition to IDENER Research and Development AIE, the partners involved in METALLICO are the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg, the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Siec Badawcza Lukasiewicz – Instytut Metali Niezelaznych, Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus VTT OY, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, G.E.O.S. Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, the companies Cementos La Cruz, Euroatomizado, Glencore Nikkelverk, Cobre las Cruces, the Centro de Investigacion Cooperativa de Energias Alternativas, the Cetaqua Centro Tecnologico del Agua Fundacion Privada, the Corporacion Chilena de Investigación del Agua, Tharsis Mining Sociedad Limitada, Politecnico di Torino, Asistencias Tecnicas Clave SL, Radical Innovations Group AB, Minera Los Frailes, Lithium Iberia, DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie and Geniki Metalleutiki Kai Metallourgiki Anonimi Etairia.