Material of the Month: Rare Earth Elements

Material of the Month: Rare Earth Elements

Rare Earth Elements (REE) are still considered as one of the most critical elements for industrial use and green technologies. However, it is now well known that the group of 17 individual elements is as diverse as any other 17 elements of the Periodic Table. The pure chemical similarity of the REEs is confronted with an extreme physical diversity. Today basically only the magnetic materials are of interest and drivers for the REE market. Phosphors like Europium and Yttrium, which were the most critical REEs just a few years ago, are still required but the paradigm change by introducing LED technology led to a enormous reduction of demand for phosphors. The […]

Material of the month: Graphite

Material of the month: Graphite

Graphite: soon the new black gold?   Graphite is a soft, crystalline form of Carbon. Natural Graphite occurs in metamorphic rocks such as marble, schist, and gneiss. At present, graphite is the anode material of choice in batteries. It naturally occurs in three different variations: amorphous Graphite, flake or crystalline Graphite and vein or lump Graphite. it can also be produced synthetically. Battery grade material presently can only be produced from flake, vein and synthetic Graphite and the required purity for battery applications is at least 99,9%. In China, a rather low-cost process is being used which is disastrous for environment, workplace health and safety. Increasing demand for EVs however […]

IRTC Business Workshop on Identifying risks in industry supply chains

IRTC Business Workshop on Identifying risks in industry supply chains

  On May 19th, the IRTC held a workshop on the topic of “Identifying risks in industry supply chains” with Alessandra Hool, CEO of the ESM foundation, as the moderator. Over a hundred participants took part in it and there was a lot of valuable input that will be used to develop the decision tool further. The workshop first introduced different perspectives on supply chain risks and how companies can address them. In a second part, a draft decision model for industries was presented and discussed in three working groups. Some impressions are seen in the pictures. The full report of what was presented and discussed can be found here.  

Material of the month: lithium

Material of the month: lithium

No electromobility without lithium Due to the ever-growing battery sector, the demand for lithium has surged over the last years. In 2016, battery grade lithium accounted for about 35% percent of the lithium demand and soared to almost the double quantity of 65% of demand in 2019. Besides batteries, lithium is also used in ceramics and glass, lubricating greases, air treatment, casting and polymers (see figure below).   Mining / Production Lithium is being produced from minerals or brines. The exploitation from minerals is relatively quick process, taking only a few days to produce high purity lithium. However, mineral exploitation is costly, requires energy, chemicals and water and produces waste. […]