EU project REEsilience to strengthen rare earth supply chain
The new EU project REEsilience focuses on the supply chain for rare-earth-based magnetic materials in Europe. These magnets are crucial in building wind turbines, sensors, and especially electric vehicles.
Magnetic rare earth elements (REE) such as neodymium form part of permanent magnets as used in permanently excited synchronous motors. Although the EU is a world leader in producing electric motors, it is dependent on imports along the entire value chain of magnetic materials, according to Steinbeis Europa Zentrum. In other words: despite a growing market, European magnet production is not sufficiently exhausted and often serves niche applications.
Project REEsilience is to change that. Funded through the EU Horizon program, the participants will categorise rare earth elements by geographic location, quantities, chemical compositions, ramp-up scenarios, prices, and ethical and sustainability indicators. This is to consider all value streams from primary raw to secondary materials.
The project will also build a production system that ensures a more resilient and sustainable supply chain for rare earth materials and magnets for electromobility, renewable energy and other strategic sectors in Europe with less dependence on non-European economies.
Resilience is also in recycling
More so, REESilience also aims to increase the share of secondary materials in magnet materials recycling. Here the partners will look at all existing and emerging recycling and production sources. The Steinbeis Centre mentions a new software to determine “optimal mixing ratios” to guarantee product quality while using as many secondary materials as possible. The project partners hope that, in combination with new and improved technologies for alloy production and powder preparation, the yield and stability of the processes will be further increased.
The Institute for Strategic Technology and Precious Metals (STI) at Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences coordinates the project that runs until June 2026. The consortium includes 16 partners and two associated partners from ten European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) and manages a budget of nearly 12 million euros.
steinbeis-europa.de (PI in German), steinbeis-europa.de