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Grundfos will partner with four organizations to help strengthen the transition to a circular economy through tracking and traceability of critical materials aligning with sustainable practices.

Denmark: Grundfos has partnered with BEC GmbH, Circularise, Minviro, and the global Rare Earth Industry Association (REIA) to lead a three-year EIT RawMaterials funded innovation project to build a blockchain-based Circular System for Assessing Rare Earth Sustainability (CSyARES).

This will help companies improve the transparency and sustainability of their supply chains when it comes to critical and rare earth materials.

Demand for rare earth metals is skyrocketing and by 2030 it is projected to reach 315,000 tonnes. These rare-earth metals are irreplaceable in wind turbines, electric vehicles, mobile phones, computers, and the defense industry. Rising demand combined with resource shortages and supply chain disruptions means we need to rely on sustainably mined and processed metals.

The transition to a circular economy is considered crucial and governments around the world incentivize companies to uptake e-waste recycling and other sustainable practices with new regulations. As highlighted by the European Raw Material Alliance (ERMA) Action Plan, boosting supply security through better cooperation among stakeholders is a top priority. For rare earth metals suppliers, this means not only becoming more sustainable but also proving their compliance and quality criteria to customers and regulators.

Developing an innovative CSyARES is key in achieving these goals. In this project, the partnering organizations, including Grundfos aim to:

  • Integrate REIA’s standards on assessing sustainable performance and Minviro’s LCA tool with Circularise’s blockchain software for supply chain traceability and transparency.
  • Allow Grundfos and BEC GmbH to test the system and business model and trace and measure the environmental impact of their supply chains. This will be conducted in cooperation with members of REIA.

This project will contribute to the circular economy transformation in the rare earth elements, electric and electronic equipment, automotive, and all other sectors that depend on rare earth. It will create new business opportunities for manufacturers and recyclers and allow downstream players to ensure sustainable practices throughout their supply chains.

Commenting on this announcement, Badrinath Veluri, Chief Specialist – Materials & Process, Grundfos and President of REIA, said “This partnership is based on our common interest to bring transparency and sustainability to the use of these critical and rare earth materials. Through this project, we are aiming to build a tool that the parties within the rare earth value chain can use with an integrated approach and incorporate the due diligence aspects, which ultimately will allow us to increase the secondary resource efficiency and achieve a circular economy.”

The Partners

Grundfos
We pioneer solutions to the world’s water and climate challenges and improve the quality of life for people. As a global pump and water solutions company we provide expertise in energy- and water-efficient solutions and systems for a wide range of applications, including water utility, water treatment, industries, and buildings.

Global Rare Earth Industry Association (REIA)
The global Rare Earth Industry Association (REIA) is a global association aiming to enable sustainable, responsible, collaborative, and transparent Rare Earth Value chains, from mining to recycling. REIA provides a platform for stakeholders to network; conducts research and develops strategies and supply chain standards. In the project, REIA will provide knowledge on the supply chain stakeholders and processes. Furthermore, it will develop its own standard and engage stakeholders in the demonstration.

BEC Gesellschaft für Produktmanagement mbH
BEC has been established in 1992 with a focus on the European market for high-quality permanent magnet materials and magnet systems. BEC develops customized magnetic solutions for different types of industries, with a focus on sintered NdFeB permanent magnets. Due to strong in-house developed materials, like the NdFeB TERRAMAG® family, BEC is a reliable partner for industrial, medical, and automotive projects, with a strong network, headquarters in Germany, and branches in China and Korea.

Circularise
Circularise is a supply chain traceability and transparency start-up founded in The Netherlands in 2016. Circularise’s Software system enables supply chain actors to trace materials and products on blockchain and share such sensitive data as origins, certificates, Co2 footprint, and impact assessment across supply chains without risking privacy and confidentiality.

Minviro
Minviro is a consultancy and technology company that focuses on a stronger integration of life cycle assessment in the mining, metals, and recycling industries. The developed software as a service platform MineLCA can be used to quantify environmental impacts associated with production routes or processes in the raw materials space, in addition to identifying impact mitigation opportunities. Minviro is currently also developing a Product Category Rule to ensure harmonization and repeatability of life cycle impact studies along the rare earth value chain.

EIT RawMaterials
Minerals, metals, and advanced materials are key enablers to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal. Today, only a fraction of the most relevant raw materials is produced in Europe. This can be changed through a circular economy approach, through innovation in recycling, substitution, processing, mining, and exploration. It is the objective of EIT RawMaterials to secure a sustainable raw materials supply by driving innovation, education, and entrepreneurship across European industrial ecosystems. EIT RawMaterials provides a collaborative environment for disruptive and breakthrough innovations by connecting business with academia, research, and investment. It also invests in the future generation of innovators for the raw materials sector through initiatives ranging from the education of school students to higher qualifications for industry professionals.

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