Material of the Month: Germanium

Material of the Month: Germanium

Germanium is a hard, brittle semimetal that first came into use a half-century ago as a semiconductor material in radar units and as the material from which the first transistor was made. Today, germanium is mainly used in electronics and solar applications, fiber-optic systems, infrared optics, polymerization catalysts, and other uses (such as chemotherapy, metallurgy, and phosphors). Germanium-containing infrared optics were primarily for military use, but the commercial applications for thermal-imaging devices that use germanium lenses have increased during the past few years. In the earth crust, germanium seldom appears in high concentrations. Due to its highly dispersive nature, it is mostly recovered as a byproduct of zinc smelting, although […]

New List of Critical Raw Materials is out!

New List of Critical Raw Materials is out!

The 2020 EU Critical Raw Materials List   The European Commission has just published the 2020 EU Critical Raw Materials List. The Commission reviews the list of critical raw materials for the EU every three years screening 83 materials. Economic importance and supply risk are the two main parameters used to determine criticality for the EU. Economic importance looks in detail at the allocation of raw materials to end-uses based on industrial applications. Supply risk looks at the country-level concentration of global production of primary raw materials and sourcing to the EU, the governance of supplier countries, including environmental aspects, the contribution of recycling (i.e. secondary raw materials), substitution, EU import […]

Material of the Month: Nickel

Material of the Month: Nickel

Nickel is one of the most common elements in the earths’ crust. Therefore, general depletion is not likely, however mining of remaining ores with reduced nickel contents, mines in disperse locations and increasing environmental regulations turn nickel mining more challenging. Due to an expected surge in global electric vehicle sales, the demand for Nickel starts to change its production, even though at present the share of battery materials is just around 3-4% of global mine production. Among all the existing Nickel containing ores, only the sulfide ones are suitable to produce battery grade Nickel. One problem concerning batteries is that the demand of Nickel to produce batteries is comparatively low, […]

Journal article: link between circularity and criticality

Journal article: link between circularity and criticality

The IRTC project, coordinated by ESM Foundation, has published a joint scientific paper by leading international experts on the link of material criticality and transitioning towards a more circular economy. The paper explores the potential benefits, as well as caveats, of adopting a circular economy approach to critical raw materials, based on the experiences and discussions organized by the IRTC project. The IRTC project has now entered its second phase “IRTC-Business”, with the long-term goal to develop guidance for companies concerning their exposure to criticality and suitable mitigation measures.