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Das Resources Innovation Center Leoben an der Montanuniversität Leoben beherbergt internationale Beteiligungen der Universität im Bereich der nachhaltigen Forschung, Ausbildung und Industrialisierung. Unsere Vision ist es eine klimafreundliche nachhaltige Zukunft des Rohstoffsektors voranzutreiben.


EUMICON - Recovery. Made in Europe

18/11/2020

  EUMICON invites you to join the digital conference “Recovery. Made In Europe” (18.11.2020) organized in partnership with the European Commission. The opening keynote remarks will be delivered by the Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič who has placed Europe’s strategic autonomy in the spotlight of the political discussion. The conference aims to discuss how strengthening the EU’s strategic autonomy can help lessen the effects of the COVID-19 crises with high-level stakeholders from politics, industry, NGOs and academia. It will bring the EU recovery program, circular economy, green transformation and the importance of resilient value chains for the European economy into focus. Other topics that will be touched upon are the the need for increased quantities of mineral raw materials and how the EU must ensure the security of supply, which match the projected demand of the European industry. This year it’s all about one question: How can we make Europe’s economy more resilient? Let’s shape Europe’s future together! Register here

September 2020 – European Raw Materials Alliance kickoff meeting

Peter Moser (Vice-rector of Montanuniversität Leoben was invited to the European Raw Materials Alliance kickoff meeting to give the commitee members a perspective from a research point of view:

“The European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) is the first action of the Critical Raw Materials Action Plan of the European Commission. Research and development can play a vital role in the implementation of this by developing the necessary knowledge and theoretical frameworks that the approaches are based on, such as we have done in the past, like design of value chains, material efficiency of final products, etc. This initiative is highly appreciated and needed, however, systemically it is clear that in the future this alliance must expand its scope beyond building resilience for only value chains of specific materials. Society is undergoing a massive transformation currently, a transformation that needs to be successful for future generations to be able to meet their needs and live in favourable ecological conditions. This means that we cannot tackle challenges in our old conventional ways but that we need to transform our systems. Innovative technologies and change of human behaviour are the basis for meeting the ambitious climate targets of the Green Deal and the implementation of the sustainable development goals. In the following I will address the necessary research and development needs as a pre-requisite for this transformation because the kind of challenges we are facing are entirely new and we need new flexible and systemic ways to react to them. On the one hand, we need to create the knowledge basis for innovative technologies, alternative societal systems and responsible human behaviour. On the other hand, we also need to address the transformative needs of the R&D system itself to be fit for tackling these societal challenges effectively. Successful R&D in this context grows in a suitable biotope that we have to form – a biotope that attracts the most talented and creative researchers and provides them with a working environment where enthusiasm and inspiration is promoted, and stronger than the frustration from the frequent lack of R&D resources and bureaucracy.

In a nutshell:

  • we urgently need more enthusiastic visionary people and
  • we need sufficient resources for researchers to work efficiently and effectively
  • we need simplicity and less bureaucracy

In terms of people it is necessary that education and research work closely and in synergy so that our long-term human capacity needs are met. In terms of funding it is essential to provide stable and long-term funding frameworks to promote effective and visionary R&D environments. In terms of simplicity and low bureaucracy it is important to rethink how funding frameworks work. It is crucial to have uniform, simple and aligned rules across different frameworks.

The three ingredients for creating a suitable R&D biotope itself are:

  • First: The acknowledgement, awareness and conception that R&D is a solution provider for meeting the ambitious climate targets. This means that industry needs to be committed on a much higher level in the future to participate in R&D and long-term invest in it. Furthermore, we need to promote the image of the researcher as an indispensable puzzle piece of today’s challenges.
  • Second: The acknowledgement, awareness and conception that economic growth has planetary boundaries and that new technologies and societal systems build the basis for what we call resources and impact de-coupling, as conceptualized in the SDGs. We need to directly link the question of raw materials production to the question of raw materials consumption. Therefore, we have to evaluate the value of technologies not only from an economic perspective but also from an ecologic point of view. This takes systemic approaches which is only possible through massive interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Third: The acknowledgement, awareness and conception that we need to adapt and transform our R&D approaches and systems to make them more flexible and stable and thus fit for the challenges we are tackling.

In such type of new approaches and systems we have to implement much more the idea of short-term path finder projects, which upon success are followed by long term initiatives. A good first example in this direction is the European University initiative where a three-year starting period is followed by a long-term period of 10plus years of fixed financing, an approach that really promotes depth and excellence.

In conclusion, the societal transformation can be achieved on the basis of

  • a visionary research agenda,
  • enthusiastic and innovative researchers,
  • a supportive organisational research framework and
  • collaboration across sectors.”

Find the ERMA Agenda here

Sustainable Carbon Supply and Energy Mining

Sustainable Carbon Supply and Energy Mining based on Methane decomposition is seen as a major contribution to a future carbon footprint reduction while maintaining a sustainable supply with raw materials and green energy. Natural gas is the fossil fuel containing the least impurities with an estimated global resource of around 800 trillion m³. Although the composition of natural gas can vary to some extent, its primary component is methane, CH4. By endothermic decomposition (methane pyrolysis) methane can be split into its components carbon  and hydrogen (H2) where especially hydrogen is of interest as a future alternative for various industrial applications. Additionally, there is a high potential for various large-scale applications of carbon, especially in construction and agriculture, if the carbon is available at a lower price than from presently available resources.

Find out more here!

Manuel Ortega, MSc

Manuel stieß im Jänner 2019 zum Team des RIC Leoben. Auf Vollzeitbasis leitet er erfolgreich das MiReBooks-Projekt, „Mixed Reality Handbooks for Mining Education“, ein 14-Partner-paneuropäisches Bildungsprojekt mit einem Budget von 3 Mio. EUR. Das Projekt wird von der EIT RawMaterials Academy finanziert und befasst sich mit aktuellen Bedürfnissen und Lücken in der Bergbauausbildung, welchen sie durch Digitalisierung von Inhalten und Konzepten begegnet. (Weitere Details zum Projekt finden Sie unter Punkt 3.3.2) Manuel erhielt einen MSc in Bergbauingenieurwesen von der León Mining University, Spanien. Nach seinem Universitätsabschluss war er viele Jahre in der Öl- und Gasbranche tätig. Er entschied sich für seinen jetzigen Job, weil er das Gefühl hatte, es sei an der Zeit, zu seinen Wurzeln im Bergbau zurückzukehren.

Im Fokus

RAISESEE

Raw Materials Students Internships in East South-East Europe

RAISESEE “Raw Materials Students Internships in East South-East Europe” project is the extension of RAISE project with special focus on countries in East and South-East Europe. The goal is to develop hands-on internships in working environments for secondary schools students. The mix of basic training in lab/industry safety rules, Raw Material related themes and of hands-on stages in “real world” research institutes, universities and industries will help students toward an informed choice of their university studies, allowing pupils to match their expectations and talents with the opportunities offered by the stakeholders in different Raw Materials sectors. A specific task of RAISESEE will also be the inclusion of several partners from ESEE area as active actors in training activities.

07/2018 – 03/2022
EIT RawMaterials – Regional Innovation Scheme

Montanuniversität Leoben (Partner), ASTER S. Cons. P.A., Association of Technology Engineers of Republic of Srpska, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, HYdrogen for Development of Environmental Projects, National Institute of Materials Physics Bucharest, Politecnico di
Milano, Tallinn University of Technology, University of Banja Luka, University of Oulu;

RIC Leoben – Mariaelena Murphy
Total: € 250.670
Montanuniversität Leoben: € 26.337