Supply chains for circular critical materials
£15 million of government funding for cutting-edge research: This programme will boost critical minerals used in clean energy technology and support the development of resilient innovation in primary (mine to magnet) and secondary (end of life to magnet) supply chains.
A wide range of critical minerals are required for the technologies and innovations to decarbonise the transport, energy and industrial sectors and achieve the UK’s Net Zero ambitions. An electric vehicle not only requires cobalt, lithium and graphite for the battery but also rare earth elements for the electric motor. These minerals and others have been identified as having high criticality for the UK in the recent Resilience for the Future: The United Kingdom’s Critical Minerals Strategy report.
The Circular Critical Materials Supply Chains (aka CLIMATES) programme supports the UK’s Critical Minerals Strategy and aims to build and develop resilient supply chains to address this strategically important area with an initial focus on rare earth elements. Used in electric vehicles, consumer electronics and wind turbines, permanent magnets made from rare earth elements are crucial in the development of Net Zero innovations.
- Mining and up-stream: Novel and sustainable mining processes, separation processes, management of by-products
- Mid-stream: Sustainable mid-stream processes, increased process efficiency to metals, sustainable routes to rare earth alloys
- Down-stream and magnet manufacture: Sustainable manufacturing routes to high performance magnets, increased specification of high-performance magnets
- Circular supply chains: Collection and sorting of REE containing products, sustainable routes for processing recovered rare earth materials
- Materials: Novel materials for high-performance magnets, substitution for high-performance magnets