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Call: Sustainable processing, refining and recycling of raw materials (Batteries Partnership)

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Programme
Acronym HE-CL5-D2
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 5 - Destination 2: Cross-sectoral solutions for the climate transition"

This Destination covers thematic areas which are cross-cutting by nature and can provide key solutions for climate, energy and mobility applications. In line with the scope of cluster 5 such areas are batteries, hydrogen, communities and cities, early-stage breakthrough technologies as well as citizen engagement. Although these areas are very distinct in terms of challenges, stakeholder communities and expected impacts, they have their cross-cutting nature as a unifying feature and are therefore grouped together under this Destination.

This Destination contributes to the following Strategic Plan’s Key Strategic Orientations (KSO):

  • C: Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy through the transformation of its mobility, energy, construction and production systems;
  • A: Promoting an open strategic autonomy[[‘Open strategic autonomy’ refers to the term ‘strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy’, as reflected in the conclusions of the European Council 1 – 2 October 2020.]] by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains to accelerate and steer the digital and green transitions through human-centred technologies and innovations;
  • D: Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society, prepared and responsive to threats and disasters, addressing inequalities and providing high-quality health care, and empowering all citizens to act in the green and digital transitions.

It covers the following impact areas:

  • Industrial leadership in key and emerging technologies that work for people
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Smart and sustainable transport

The expected impact, in line with the Strategic Plan, is to contribute to the “Clean and sustainable transition of the energy and transport sectors towards climate neutrality facilitated by innovative cross-cutting solutions”, notably through:

  1. Nurturing a world-class European research and innovation eco-system on batteries along the value chain based on sustainable pathways. It includes improvement of technological performance to increase application user attractiveness (in particular in terms of safety, cost, user convenience, fast charging and environmental footprint), in parallel supporting the creation of a competitive, circular, and sustainable European battery manufacturing value chain (more detailed information below).
  2. Increased efficiency of Europe’s cities’ and communities’ energy, resource use and mobility patterns and cities’ and communities’ overall sustainability, thereby improving their climate-resilience and attractiveness to businesses and citizens in a holistic fashion. This also includes improved air and water quality, resilience of energy supply, intelligent mobility services and logistics, liveability and accessibility of cities, public health, comfortable, affordable zero emissions housing as well as the exploitation of relevant European technologies and knowledge (more detailed information below).
  3. Facilitating the transformation to a climate neutral society, in line with the EU’s 2050 climate targets, through more effectively engaging and empowering citizens to participate in the transition, from planning to decision-making and implementation (more detailed information below).
  4. Nurturing the development of emerging technologies with high potential to enable zero-greenhouse gas and negative emissions in energy and transport (more detailed information below).

A competitive and sustainable European battery value chain

Batteries will enable the rollout of zero-emission mobility and renewable energy storage, contributing to the European Green Deal and supporting the UN SDGs by creating a vibrant, responsible and sustainable market. Besides climate neutrality, batteries also contribute to other UN SDGs directly and indirectly such as enabling of decentralized and off-grid energy solutions.

The strategic pathway is, on the one hand, for Europe to rapidly regain technological competitiveness in order to capture a significant market share of the new and fast growing rechargeable battery market, and, on the other hand, to invest in longer term research on future battery technologies to establish Europe's long term technological leadership and industrial competitiveness

The Partnership “Towards a competitive European industrial battery value chain for stationary applications and e-mobility”, to which all battery-related topics under this Destination will contribute, aims to establish world-leading sustainable and circular European battery value chain to drive transformation towards a carbon-neutral society.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting the battery value chain under this Destination are:

  1. Increased global competitiveness of the European battery ecosystem through generated knowledge and leading-edge technologies in battery materials, cell design, manufacturing and recycling;
  2. Accelerated growth of innovative, competitive and sustainable battery manufacturing industry in Europe;
  3. Accelerated roll out of electrified mobility through increased attractiveness for citizens and businesses, offering lower price, better performance and safety, reliable operation of e-vehicles. Increased grid flexibility, increased share of renewables integration and facilitated self-consumption and participation in energy markets by citizens and businesses;
  4. Increased overall sustainability and improved Life Cycle Assessment of each segment of the battery value chain. Developed and established innovative recycling network and technologies and in line with the March 2020 European Circular Economy Action Plan, accelerated roll-out of circular designs and holistic circular approach for funded innovations;
  5. Increased exploitation and reliability of batteries though demonstration of innovative use cases of battery integration in stationary energy storage and vehicles/vessels/aircrafts (in collaboration with other partnerships).

Communities and cities

This work programme contains only a few activities. The bulk of activities related to communities and cities will be introduced during 2021 as an update to the Horizon Europe work programme 2021, once the preparatory phase of the Horizon Europe Missions has been concluded.

Emerging breakthrough technologies and climate solutions

Although the contribution of a wide range of technologies to reach climate neutrality is already foreseeable, EU R&I programming should also leave room for emerging and break-through technologies with a high potential to achieve climate neutrality. These technologies can play a significant role in reaching the EU’s goal to become climate neutral by 2050.

Relevant topics supported under this Destination do not duplicate activities supported under Pillars I or III, but focus on emerging technologies that can enable the climate transition and follows at the same time a technology-neutral bottom up approach and the support of key technologies that are expected to support achieving climate neutrality. Research in this area is mostly technological in nature but should also where relevant be accompanied by assessments of environmental impact, social and economic impacts, and possible regulatory needs as well as activities to support the creation of value chains and to build up new ecosystems of stakeholders working on breakthrough technologies.

The main expected impacts to be generated by topics targeting breakthrough technologies and climate solutions under this Destination are:

  • Emergence of unanticipated technologies enabling emerging zero-greenhouse gas and negative emissions in energy and transport;
  • Development of high-risk/high return technologies to enable a transition to a net greenhouse gas neutral European economy;

Citizens and stakeholder engagement

The transition to climate-neutral economies and societies by 2050 is the defining challenge of this century. The challenge is not just technical: it calls for wide-ranging societal transformations and the adaptation of lifestyles and behaviours. Engaging citizens and stakeholders is therefore critical for the success of the European Green Deal, as is making greater recourse to the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), alongside the Scientific, Technical, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) disciplines.

The topics under this section do not stand alone but aim to complement and support the broader integration (“mainstreaming”) of citizen and stakeholder engagement as well as the social sciences and humanities (SSH) across the whole Horizon Europe programme map and particularly Cluster 5.

The main expected impacts to be generated by topics targeting citizen and stakeholder engagement under this Destination are:

  • A better understanding of the societal implications of the climate transition, including its distributional repercussions;
  • More effective policy interventions, co-created with target constituencies and building on high-quality policy advice;
  • Greater societal support for transition policies and programs, based on greater and more consequential involvement of those most affected.
Link Link to Programme
Call
Sustainable processing, refining and recycling of raw materials (Batteries Partnership)
Description of call
"Sustainable processing, refining and recycling of raw materials (Batteries Partnership)"

Expected Outcome

Raw materials need to be competitively processed and refined in Europe in a sustainable way, including reduced environmental footprint, and improved social aspects and competitiveness. This is underlined in the recently published list of Critical Raw Materials (https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/raw-materials/specific-interest/critical_en) and the Circular Economy Action Plan (https://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/).

Project results will contribute to decreasing dependency of Europe on imported battery chemicals and raw materials. As a result new business opportunities and jobs will be created for the European industry.

Projects are expected to coordinate with projects funded under Cluster 4 RESILIENCE Green and Sustainable Materials topics. Projects are expected to contribute to European Raw Materials Alliance objectives.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • European low-grade deposits and secondary material sources such as tailings as source of nickel, cobalt and lithium are taken into use, reducing the European dependency on important materials by increasing refining capacity to battery grade materials in Europe. This requires innovative, cost-effective and safe extraction technologies;
  • Battery grade intermediates such as lithium hydroxide and precursor materials are competitively produced and refined in Europe in a sustainable and socially acceptable way, improving the competitiveness and value of European battery and mobility industries;
  • Reduced carbon emissions, increased energy efficiency, and more efficient resource use and yield, for example by increasing the capacity to re-process recycled lithium from spent batteries integrated in primary lithium processing;
  • New business opportunities and models for the European industry (e.g. joint processing, centralised Lithium refinery) creating additional jobs from increased processing and refining capacity.

Scope:

In order to secure a competitive battery industry in Europe, innovations in chemical and metallurgical production are required. The focus is at improved yield, better process control, flowsheet flexibility, improved product purity and quality, improved impurity removal, and improved recovery from secondary streams. These innovations are in some cases complementary unit processes to existing process flow sheets, while in others, such as European lithium or precursor production, completely new flowsheets. These advancements are expected to bring the European battery metal and chemical production to a global leadership. The activities are expected to cover one or several bullets:

  • Solutions to a sustainable Lithium value chain, such as:
    • Novel sorting technologies, new comminution method and alternative energy sources to improve energy efficiency, CO2 emissions and reduce water use in lithium processing and refining.
    • Selective methods for lithium extraction from pegmatites and other Lithium bearing minerals and refining of lithium materials to battery grade chemicals or even to lithium metal. Improvement of stability of refined LiOH. Cross-connections to other relevant WP parts which cover raw materials issues (e.g. Cluster 4) will be established.
    • Specification of physical-chemical properties for Lithium deposits, to foresee how the mineral mix could be better processed.
  • New refining processes to increase value and yield from European mines and sustainably sourced and imported (nickel and cobalt) raw materials, but also from process waste, side streams, recycled materials, mine tailings and other non-conventional sources.
  • Improvements in performance and efficiency of existing (nickel and cobalt) refining processes in Europe, e.g. by implementing new methodologies to reduce carbon emissions, increasing energy and resource efficiency, raw material flexibility and substitution of fossil fuels.
    • Development of new recoverable reagents and processes and real-time composition analysis for battery metal leaching and extraction to reduce waste and improve material efficiency and waste management
    • New smelting and slag engineering technologies to address Ni and Co losses in smelting
  • Development of continuous processes for precursor materials (pCAM) to replace the currently used batch processing, including:
    • Process control solutions for different cathode active material recipes
    • Complete process design concepts including filtration, gas supply, mixing ratios, flow control, fluidised process solutions, and process automation
    • Process optimisation to minimise and/or recover off-specification battery metals and compounds.
  • Zero Liquid Discharge processing in battery chemical and precursor material processing, including energy cascading and waste valorisation
  • New business models for co-processing and process integration
  • Process modelling competence combined with environmental impact evaluation (incl. LCA) for individual primary processes, in collaboration with a project funded under HORIZON-CL5-2021-D5-01-04.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership on ‘Towards a competitive European industrial battery value chain for stationary applications and e-mobility’.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Administration & Governance, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Mobility & Transport/Traffic
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Call opens 24.06.2021
Call closes 19.10.2021
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of between EUR 6.00 and 7.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 21.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project.

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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