TU Delft brings hopeful story on critical raw materials

Smartphones, solar panels, medical equipment and electric vehicles are just a few examples of everyday products that use critical raw materials. The demand for these materials is on the rise, and it’s expected to further increase in the coming years mainly due to the energy transition. However, the challenge of critical raw materials is that they are metals and minerals that we have to get from faraway countries while we do need them in large quantities in Europe. How to deal with that’ With that question in mind, TU Delft is organising Materials Week which will take place from 13-17 May 2024.

What activities are taking place’

TU Delft actually has everything it needs to improve Europe’s autonomy, say scientists Benjamin Sprecher (Assistant Professor Critical Raw Materials and Sustainable Design) and David Peck (Associate Professor Critical Materials and Circular Design) in this longread. With researchers from all’other faculties and support staff, Benjamin and David work together to explore and tell the hopeful story of critical metals.

This story is reinforced by the various activities taking place during Materials Week. Curious about the various activities, including this seminar and this European election debate ’ Then check our Materials Week page for more information and register directly for one of the events.

Why Materials Week’

During Materials Week, TU Delft shows what it is doing in the field of critical raw materials and how this contributes to the Europe of the future. And not entirely without reason. In the week of 13-17 May, in fact, there will be a European summit on critical raw materials and EU member states are expected to adhere to the Critical Raw Materials Act. For the university, two (of many) important reasons to come up with its own Materials Week.

David Peck (left) is an expert on European strategic autonomy and how it relates to critical resources. Benjamin (right) is considered one of the leading experts on critical raw materials. Among other things, he sets up decision support tools for designers.

Benjamin Sprecher, industrial ecologist and one of the driving forces behind Delft Materials Week: -Our mission is to reduce dependence on other countries for these critical metals. In addition, we run up against planetary boundaries; we want to contribute with our research to the preservation of planet Earth. This can be done, for example, with research into reuse and (better) recycling of these raw materials and metals. The circular economy will also play an important role in the EU strategy. In addition, we develop products that last longer or require less critical metals, or none at all, through smart design. Our recent battery research is an example of this; where batteries have been invented with sodium instead of the critical material lithium.-

- Dave Boomkens - D.J.Boomkens@tudelft.nl / 0634081461
- Pauline Bijster - H.P.Bijster@tudelft.nl / 0648421089