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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Objectives of the commitment

The CuBES platform will act as a facilitator to accelerate the development of ideas into marketable solutions for own consumption or commercialisation and help to disseminate public IPR within its scope.

The consortium will convene a broad platform of stakeholders - academic, research institutes, metals producers, equipment manufacturers - and later also wind operators, system operators and the financial community - to exchange ideas and concepts for development, to discuss available knowledge ‎and to critically challenge each other on the real life applicability of these concepts in the next 5 to 10 years.

Based on criteria defined by the platform, technologies will be identified and support catalysed for projects utilising national, industrial and H2020 funding. The platform's target is to launch at least one project with a €4-6M range budget within the first 2 years.

Description of the activities

The CuBES platform will be a one-stop-shop for copper electrometallurgy information, acting as an operating system for disseminating information about underlying projects of the partners, scouting for other projects utilising copper electrochemistry which are already running in the EU, as well as scoping new project ideas.

The main CuBES channel will be an annual workshop on copper electrochemical technology. By 2020 the workshop could have evolved into a permanent conference series to continue independently after CuBES ends; thus addressing the problem outlined in action area II.8 of the SIP - of data maintenance ending with the end of an EU project.

Ideas‎ for development will be collected, published on the CuBES platform to inform the consortium members and encourage them to share similar ideas for technological solutions to the EU challenges mentioned in the SET plan, such as low temperature waste heat transformation to electricity or energy storage.

A qualification matrix will be developed to identify ideas likely to be technically and economically feasible within a 3 to 5 year timeframe. The CuBES partners may then decide among themselves ‎to develop these further from TRL 3 to TRL 7 based on their individual priorities, in self-managed groups, keeping the consortium informed about the publicly available IPR.

The approach chosen will be tailored according to the TRL of the technology under consideration:
1 - Early stage projects with a low TRL (e.g. 2 or 3) will use a direct communicative practice concept whilst gathering a knowledge base including a monthly webinar. Unique individuals and experts will be identified. Bimonthly conference calls will be arranged for tailored focus groups working on specific projects, bringing the community of practice together on a regular basis whilst growing it.
2 - For technologies at TRLs 4 to 5, cost benefit analyses will be conducted and business cases developed.
3 - For technologies at the demonstration stage - TRL 6 and beyond - outreach to the user community will be appropriate.
3a - CuBES will be a neutral source of information with a communication confidence building approach, utilising e.g. conference presentations and the trade press.
3b - In the case of energy storage a multichannel approach to the system operator communities will be utilised, liaising with their sector associations.

Initial example topics for evaluation include:
1 - Improving energy and resource efficiency of hydrometallurgical refining processes and tuning processes for recovery of valuable materials.
2 - Electrochemical solutions for processing electronic feed streams, and in particular very dilute streams of valuable materials including the PGMs and the CRMs present in secondary raw materials e.g. EoL electronics, slags and dusts.
3 - Alternative methods for copper refining such as the “Outotec Indirect” process utilising a redox intermediate (Heimala & Ruonala, US2010180727 (A1), 2010-07-22).
4 - Application of copper's electrochemistry, hydrometallurgy and EU tankhouse technology know-how to electricity storage using large flow batteries on the MW / MWh scale (Barker, FI125195 (B), 2015-06-30) and (Lloyd & Sanz, WO2015136158 (A1), 2015-09-17). These concepts are based on readily available materials which promise technical & economic advantages. Such storage is critically needed in the EU’s energy transition to provide flexibility to the electricity system.

Description of the expected impacts

CuBES will have impact under all three pillars of the SIP for the EIP on Raw Materials.

1 - Improved R&D coordination between industry and researchers, especially in promoting development of new strategies for energy storage as well as for processing and refining of secondary raw materials.
2 - CuBES will shorten the implementation time of new, lower energy processing techniques and recycling technologies to keep the EU copper refining industry competitive.
3 - New processes will be developed for recycling end of life products and treatment of slags and dusts - utilising copper industry know-how.
4 - Improved energy and process efficiencies are expected, and as a consequence improved recycling of WEEE and recovery of technology metals which are today lost, leading to increased availability of CRMs. This will bring job creation in processing and process equipment manufacture.
5 - CuBES will increase knowledge and build trust, raise public awareness and acceptance, helping the community to understand the importance of a strong European copper refining industry for resource sustainability and a secure supply of technology metals for the EU.
6 - CuBES will deliver electrometallurgy expertise for copper extraction and associated refining technologies to related commitments. CuBES will also contribute to the activities of the EIT KIC on Raw Materials where several CuBES partners are already present.
7 - For interactions outside the EU, CuBES will strengthen cooperation with academia who are in contact with the Latin American copper producers especially in the Atacama (Chile and Peru), metal producers in South Africa and the Copperbelt producers of Zambia and the DR Congo, increasing knowledge and skills of those working in the sector.

Coordinating organisation & role

Name of the coordinating organisation: European Copper InstituteCountry: EuropeEntity profile: Multi-national organizationRole within the commitment:

ECI will
1- coordinate the platform and organise communication
2- host an annual workshop and regular telco & webmeetings
3- support the preparation of H2020 projects and other funding mechanisms
4- provide expertise on sustainable development aspects
5- establish a liaison with ongoing projects and with the sector’s efforts in the sustainable development & competitiveness fields
6- For TRL>5, organise dissemination towards possible users

Other partners

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.

Name of the organisation: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V. Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Fraunhofer will lead the CFRP and GFRP recycling research.
Fraunhofer will perform corrosion tests on the developed materials.
Fraunhofer will work with CIDAUT on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project. Fraunhofer is the Quality Manager of the Consortium and will oversee deliverables and general reporting are produced with the best possible quality following agreed review standards.

Fundacion Cidaut

Name of the organisation: Fundacion Cidaut Country: Spain Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: CIDAUT will lead the research activities on materials recycling and compounding, implementing lab scale demonstrators of each process at its premises and, later, supporting end-users upscale the processes.
CIDAUT will perform mechanical tests, microstructural analyses, injection moulding capability studies on the developed materails, and will work with Fraunhofer on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project.

RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV)

Name of the organisation: RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV) Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: RWTH will implement the novel 3D Generative Preforming process (3D Fibre Spraying) that enables to create high-value long fibre-reinforced 3D preforms for thermoplastic and thermoset composites at low process costs (different kinds of yarn as a raw material, low tooling costs due to low cavity pressures). This cost effective technology allows to align the sprayed fibres in order to produce high-performance, engineered anisotropic products.

Universita' di Cagliari

Name of the organisation: Universita' di Cagliari Country: Italy Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: University of Cagliari is one of the leading European organization in the resin design and coupling with thermoplastic and thermose materials. University of Cagliari will support in the definition of the composite materials, both from CFRP/GFRP, ABS and Rare Earth composite material.


Name of the organisation: Relight Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: RELIGHT will work with ITRB to provide the research partners with residues for the recycled ABS supply and the REE recovery processes, including their HydroWEEE process as part of the processes to be studied and analyzed.

Piaggio Aerospace

Name of the organisation: Piaggio Aerospace Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: Piaggio Aerospace is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Piaggio will assist in the compounds selection, provide Fraunhofer with specific corrosion requirements on business jet size aircraft, and will assess that the developed materials performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

Blackshape Aircrafts

Name of the organisation: Blackshape Aircrafts Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: Blackshape Aircrafts is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Blackshape will support to fulfill the requirements of the aeronautics industry on ultra light jet, light jet and trainer for Syllabus, and will assess that the developed alloys performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

KU Leuven

Name of the organisation: KU Leuven Country: Belgium Entity profile: Academia
Role within the commitment: KUL will collaborate on the balance problem studies and will lead the rare earth recovery research with the solvometallurgical and ionometallurgical processes.
KUL will also contribute to the final compounding selection.
KUL is the Dissemination Manager of the project, promoting that all partners are active on the project Dissemination.


Name of the organisation: FIDAMC Country: Spain Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: FIDAMC is going to lead the Work Package on Compression Moulding with CFRP-enhanced materials. As part of the AIRBUS Group, FIDAMC will also be able to provide the input material.
FIDAMC successfully developed a 3D Printer of own design to serve the Aerospace Industry and will be supporting Smart Lab 3D Industries in its 3D printer design.


Name of the organisation: COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER Country: Canada Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Composite Innovation Center is one of the world leading organization in the field of Composite materials, both from carbon fiber and vegetal-based fibers.
Composite Innovation center has successfully implemented, at lab-scale, recycling processes for CFRP and GFRP.

Existing EU Contribution: No

Period to implement the commitment: from 01-05-2016 to 30-04-2019