05 May 2022 / News
The role of Innovation Hub as a key enabler
Positioning the aluminium industry in the EU research landcape: the role of Innovation Hub/European Aluminium as a key enabler
In 2015, European Aluminium established its Innovation Hub to better connect the aluminium industry with the EU innovation agenda. The Innovation Hub is a collaborative industrial platform that members of European Aluminium can join voluntarily. Currently, the Hub has 17 member companies and 2 market groups dealing with building and automotive & transport.
Main objectives of Innovation Hub are focused on:
- Building a proactive community of innovative companies across the value chain
- Tracking relevant funding opportunities
- Being the aluminium voice for innovation by engaging with PPPs (Processes4Planet, Made in Europe, Built4Europe) and the R&D community and contributing to the EU’s research agenda & priorities
- Boosting collaborative R&D initiatives and participating in collaborative projects that tackle technological challenges along the aluminium value chain and advance a sustainable future
Under this framework, Innovation Hub aspires to position aluminium as a key innovation enabler in the EU research landscape. It is currently involved in nine (9) collaborative projects as showed below:
Portfolio of collaborative projects in which European Aluminium’s Innovation Hub is involved (Mar 2022)
These EU funded projects cover the whole aluminium value chain. More precisely, the RemovAL flagship project kicked off in 2018 and aims to valorise bauxite residue, spent pot lining and other waste through new innovative processing routes by overcoming environmental challenges and technological barriers related to aluminium industry and ensuring economic viability. ReActiv project started in 2020 is highly complementary since it will create a novel sustainable symbiotic value chain between alumina and cement industry by converting the bauxite residue into an active material suitable for low-carbon footprint cement products.
Two new Horizon 2020 projects started in 2021, SALEMA and METABUILDING LABS. SALEMA aims to substitute Critical Raw Materials commonly used as alloying elements (Si & Mg) in automotive applications or to optimise their recycling from the scrap pool. METABUILDING LABS (Open Innovation Test Bed for the building of the envelope materials industrial sector) strives to unleash the innovation potential of the SMEs of the construction sector by lowering the entry barriers to testing innovative solutions in a network of testing facilities in Research and Technology Organisations and Living Labs.
The Innovation Hub also contributes to CORALIS project, which is focused on creating pathways for the decarbonisation of resource and energy intensive sector value chains through the implementation of viable industrial symbiosis approaches combining new business and management strategies with innovative technology-based enablers. Moreover, Innovation Hub is actively involved in the Erasmus+ Project, SPIRE-SAIS addressing the future skills demand across SPIRE sectors, especially in connection to digitalisation and industrial symbiosis.
In 2019, the Hub also facilitated one collaborative project directly financed by four members: the FORMALUB project, which aims to better understand and predict the formability of Aluminium Body Sheet (ABS).
The Innovation Hub and MYTILINEOS, one of its Members, are actively involved in AlSiCal project, which deals with a supplementary perspective about alumina production based on alternative mineral resources (anorthosite) for contributing to the existing bauxite based-alumina processing route. The Innovation Hub is actively involved in the communication of key AlSiCal finding to the European Aluminium industry, as resulted by AlSiCal project. The Innovation Hub will also organise one (1) workshop with the European aluminium industry in Brussels. In addition, European Aluminium will disseminate the key AlSiCal results to its members via various channels, including presentations during events and internal and external newsletters.
In the context of communication, European Aluminium transfers knowledge and results to the European aluminium industry and relevant stakeholders in order to maximise the impact and visibility of AlSiCal and the other projects and promote further synergies by taking advantage of all possible communication channels, such as Linkedin, twitter, internal and external newsletters.