Car electronics is one of the most valuable source of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) in cars. In spite of this, it seems there is a lack of interest of car manufacturers and the whole automotive sector in general towards the recovery of these valuable components from End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs). Especially at End-of-Life (EoL) phase, there are still many issues to be solved in order to functionally recover materials from cars (e.g. reuse recovered materials for the same purpose they were exploited originally) and the dependence on natural resources when producing new cars (even if electric/hybrid/fuel cell - powered) is still too high.
This mandatory systemic transformation requires all companies/sectors to redefine products lifecycles by considering Circular Economy early in the design and development process. This work requires manufacturers to navigate a set of complex barriers that currently limit potential benefits of adopting Circular Economy (CE): regulatory, governance-based, market, technological, cultural, societal, gender and etc.
Even if car manufacturers are investing capital in trying to shift their business towards more sustainable mobility concepts, the sectorial transition towards Circular Economy seems to be far from its completion. To support this transition the TREASURE project wants to develop a scenario analysis simulation tool able to quantify positive and negative implications of CE, by leading the European automotive supply chain towards its full transition to CE.
- Development of an AI-based scenario assessment tool supporting the development of circular supply chains in the automotive sector.
- Representation of a set of success stories in three key value chains of the automotive industry (focusing on SMEs): 1) dismantlers/shredders ; 2) recyclers and 3) manufacturers, practically demonstrating the benefits coming from the adoption of CE principles in the automotive sector
- Integration of Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) for the efficient design of car electronics and subsequent disassembly and materials recovery
Outputs of the TREASURE project will be validated within 3 industrial use cases in order to evaluate real barriers and benefits for companies. Moreover, an Advisory Board (AB) constituted by TSINGHUA, RIT, ALFRED and ECODOM (e-waste experts), HONDA-EU and TOYOTA-EU (car manufacturers) and TC (standardization expert) will be an active part of the technical assessment of circularity performances assessed by the TREASURE solution.
Edgeryders role in the project is creating a community-driven model of addressing social aspects related with circular design practices. Through a large scale online conversation, we want to develop new knowledge on how CE plays out in society, economy and everyday life, the points of view of the people directly affected by CE, and improvement of the SSNA methodology.
- Defining sustainability and circularity impact assessment methods to be adopted by TREASURE
- Defining a sustainability advisory methodology based on data science
- Defining a participatory social impact assessment
Challenges we face
Identifying core groups of participants, identifying and securing appropriate incentives for them to participate.
Which subcategories of end users and industry insiders should we be focused on to generate meaningful input?
Channels: Where to find them?
Incentives: How to engage them to contribute to the discussions on the platform? ( e.g prizes like paid travel and tickets to high profile car expos)
Which resources are necessary for providing the incentives and how to secure them? ( our project budget is very limited)
What kind of output would be meaningful/add value to the different stakeholders (industry insiders + mgrs/leaders within key organisations)
Who to partner with for widespread dissemination and impact of our findings?
We have a hypothesis that in this project the value added to participants should be “here I can learn new things from, and connect with, people who know what they are talking about”. We will also likely need rewards that are relevant to the interests of people we wish to engage. But concrete incentives like prizes will be needed to drive engagement and participation, at least in early phases of the project.
One approach in our outreach and community management work will be to reach out to relevant organisations, to engage their experts into contributing their input. The key community management activity will consist of doing desk research and producing well thought through, relevant, well articulated “technical” input in different formats: Articles, comments, event programs with guest experts etc.
Once a discussion is up and running, we draw in “general consumers” into the discourse - but from specific target groups (yet to be defined). This may involve competitions for things like tickets and travel to attractive car related events, “door to door knocking” via linkedin and our project partner organisations’ networks, setting up partnerships with hobbyist magazines and events etc.
Ethnographers are present, collect data and code
Produce ethno report within 2 weeks
Publish on platform and invite further debate
Contributors invited to second event
- Articles produced to kick off discussions
- We find and invite end consumers and industry insiders to comment them
- Contributors of comments on platform rewarded with prizes
- Based on ethno analysis of data collected we identify key topics/questions
- Find experts to do AMAs
- Engage end consumers to contribute questions and comments
- Participants rewarded with prizes
Produce a list of topic proposals for a series of editorial articles + wikis. Goal: Produce material to seed discussions around relevant topics.
Reach out to our experts & present process proposals. Desired outcome: define core target groups/channels for engaging them, refine pitch to our potential partners and to end consumers respectively
Reach out to manufacturers, electronics manufacturers, policymakers and recycling companies.Our Goal: Get them to agree to sponsor the events/conversation. We need to know what output/outcome would make it worthwhile for them to invest:
Prizes for contributors (to reward end consumers for their input)
Staff time: engage their staff to contribute to conversation
Contacts: Engage them to connect us with and other industry actors
(on platform? In the office? Online events?)
Output: SSNA strategic intelligence report
Start with our advisory board, einride and work outwards.
More on the project
TREASURE wants to support the transition of the automotive sector towards CE trying to fill in the existing information gap among automotive actors, both at design and EoL stage. To this aim, a scenario analysis simulation tool dedicated to car electronics will be developed and tested with a set of dedicated demonstration actions. The, so implemented, scenario analysis simulation tool will have a multiple perspective. From one side, the TREASURE solution can assist both car parts suppliers and carmakers in assessing their design decisions in terms of circularity level, also considering the effects of their decisions on EoL processes (e.g. on car dismantlers and shredders operational performances and advanced metallurgical recycling processes). Vice versa, car dismantlers and shredders could benefit from the TREASURE solution by knowing about new design features of cars to be recycled in order to optimize their processes. Here, the TREASURE solution will exploit an already existing CE performance assessment methodology to measure and quantify CE-related performances through a set of dedicated KPIs. Specifically, economic KPIs will be identified by POLIMI through a Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis and dedicated System Dynamics (SD) models. Environmental KPIs will be identified by UNIZAR and SUPSI through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Material Flow Analysis (MFA) and Thermodynamic Rarity Assessment (an exergy-based analysis). Finally, social KPIs will be identified by EDGE through a large-scale online ethnography of the CE movement in the automotive sector. From another side, the TREASURE project can act as an information hub, by exploiting data stored in the EU RMIS database. These data will be directly exploited by TREASURE to continuously monitor CE performances through a dedicated Circular Economy Performance Assessment (CEPA) methodology developed by POLIMI. About the EU RMIS database exploitation, an implicit hypothesis is that it will be updated 7 with data both currently accessible by only re-known automotive actors (e.g. the International Dismantling Information System - IDIS and the International Material Data System - IMDS) and stored in open generic databases (e.g. Eurostat, SCIP – Substances of Concern In Products). This way, data can be easily exploited also by SMEs operating in other sectors in order to develop new businesses and value chains exploiting these data. The access to privately-owned DBs (e.g. IDIS and IMDS) will be processed according to the EU GDPR legislation.
The ambition of TREASURE is offering to the European automotive sector interconnection among stakeholders of the value chain through an AI-based and secure platform to foster communication for the proper implementation of CE practices and a set of new perspectives about innovative automotive components disassembly processes, materials recovery processes and secondary materials applications. Component will be initially disassembled to prepare them for further recycling and materials recovery. Recovered materials will re-enter in the automotive value chain as secondary raw materials. For each of these ambitions, a dedicated demonstration action has been previously identified in section 184.108.40.206. All the demonstration actions will share similar ambitions in terms of improving circularity levels of current procedures (also by adopting Industry 4.0 technologies), with both a lower impact on the environment, on human health and a positive impact on the economy. This way, TREASURE wants to:
- Guarantee a sustainable use of raw materials in the automotive sector, by reducing supply risks
- Put in place CE practices in the automobile sector, acting as a showcase for the manufacturing industry
- Offer a better environmental, economic and social performance of vehicles for users and stakeholders
- Create new supply chains around ELV management, by focusing on the circular use of raw materials.
In order to continuously assess technological and circularity performances, both laboratory, prototypal and industrial scale tests will be implemented during the project.
The generated knowledge will be exploited in parallel by UNI and TXT. From one side UNI – the Italian member of CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and ISO (International Standards organisation) will exploit this knowledge to assess the existing standards on materials recovery processes, translate results in a CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) and publish it. From another side, TXT will develop adequate information channels in order to link this knowledge with the EU materials information network (e.g. RMIS database) and exploit it to increase the level of collaboration within current automotive value chains. Considering as reference: i) the international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ii) the European Green Deal (and related EU action plan for the Circular Economy) and iii) the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of the EIP on Raw Materials, TREASURE wants to address some of the priority areas set out in these plans, by specifically focusing on the automotive sector and some of its sub-sectors with re-known relevant contents in CRMs (e.g. car electronics):
TREASURE mainly addresses one of the 17 SDGs set out by the United Nations (UN), by directly focusing on SDG #12 and, indirectly, on SDG #9, #13 and #15. The attention is dedicated to: i) target 12.2 – By 2030, achieving a sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, ii) target 12.4 – By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, iii) task 12.5 – By 2030, substantially reducing waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse and iv) task 12.6 – Encouraging companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle. •
TREASURE mainly tackles the goals of “Mobilising industry for a clean and circular economy” and “Mobilising research and fostering innovation” of the European Green Deal. About the first goal, TREASURE focuses on seven points, as: “stimulating the development of lead markets for climate neutral and circular products, in the EU and beyond”, “support the circular design of all products based on a common methodology and principles”, “prioritise reducing and reusing materials before recycling them”, “foster new business models and set minimum requirements to prevent environmentally harmful products from being placed on the EU market”, “enabling buyers to make more sustainable decisions and reduces the risk of ‘green washing”, “boost the market of secondary raw materials with mandatory recycled content (for instance for packaging, vehicles, construction materials and batteries)”, “Ensuring the supply of sustainable raw materials, in particular of critical raw materials necessary for clean technologies, digital, space and defence applications, by diversifying supply from both primary and secondary sources”. About the second goal, TREASURE focuses on “large-scale deployment and demonstration of new technologies across sectors and across the single market, building new innovative value chains”.
TREASURE tackles several actions identified by the EU action plan for the Circular Economy. TREASURE matches with the waste management action (particularly on the promotion of industry-led voluntary certification of treatment facilities for key waste/recyclate streams) and the action about market for secondary raw materials (particularly in terms of i) development of quality standards for secondary raw materials and ii) further development of the EU raw materials information system). In addition, TREASURE also matches with the sectorial action dedicated to critical raw materials. Specifically, it allows to improve: i) information exchange between manufacturers, dismantlers and recyclers on electronic products and ii) European standards for materialefficient recycling of electronic waste […] and other relevant complex end-of-life products and iii) sharing of best practice for the recovery of critical raw materials […].
TREASURE addresses most of the priority areas identified by the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of the EIP on Raw Materials. TREASURE matches with several SIP “Action Areas” like I.5, II.4.2, II.5.1, III.1.5 and partially with II.7.1. According to I.5, TREASURE wants to develop and demonstrate cost-effective, resource and energy efficient and environmentally sound solutions for recycling and recovery of valuable raw materials from complex products […]. According to II.4.2, TREASURE wants to increase the knowledge on the presence of CRMs in complex products, so to improve recycling rates. According to II.5.1, TREASURE wants to develop more relevant and specific targets and/or setting criteria for such targets for certain waste streams […] and prioritize certain materials. According to II.7.1, TREASURE wants to support the definition of European standards for treating WEEEs, by maximising the recovery of high value and critical materials. In the TREASURE case, WEEE refer to car obsolete electronics. Finally, according to III.1.5, TREASURE wants to increase the dialogue with technologically advanced countries for developing and exchange information about recycling technologies.
The first activity will be focused on creating the TREASURE online forum, by customizing the existing EDGE platform. The conversations on the platform are stewarded by trained community managers (since M5) whose role is to monitor the conversation, encourage and give positive reinforcement to contributors and draw new participants in, which allows the conversation to go “deep” . To this aim, a “rules of engagement/netiquette” document will be defined to serve as a social contract underpinning interaction on TREASURE. In addition, a community journalism program will be deployed to create “seed” content and attract new users and contributions Secondly, EDGE will design, organize and manage 10 onboarding events (e.g. participatory co-creation workshops) aimed at collecting and reporting success stories about CE practices in the automotive industry on the TREASURE online forum. Finally, EDGE will code the TREASURE conversation in-platform, by exploiting a dedicated application of the EDGE system (called Open Ethnographer). This way, a set of ontologies will be produced and maintained under the form of wikis containing the list of adopted codes and their definition. In addition, a set of dedicated KPIs (e.g. # of participants, # of forum posts, # of onboarding events, % of nodes in the SSNA) will be measured. EDGE 47 ensures technical support throughout the project which allows setting up and configuring the online space and supporting ethnographers in the coding activity. To ensure rigorous and compliant data we develop and implement a Data Management Plan and we engage an Ethics Advisor to provide the space with an ethical consent funnel.