Last Friday, November 17, more than 60 experts and interested parties gathered at the Workshop of the Sea4Value project: Critical Raw Materials from unconventionals: Ensuring supply through Circular Economy. The aim of the event was to promote knowledge sharing and networking between players in the critical raw materials (CRMs) sector, as well as the water sector, specifically in desalination and water mining .
Hannah Arpke, coordinator of the Sea4Value project, opened the event, which was held both in Barcelona and online, welcoming everyone and giving way to Sandra Casas and Naiara Hernández, who summarized the progress of the Sea4Value project so far . This was followed by an inspiring presentation by expert Christopher Fellows, Senior Water Expert at the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) in Saudi Arabia and Adjunct Professor at the University of New England, Australia, on the potential value of the desalination brine.
After a coffee-networking in the same room, four European projects related to the valorization of CRM from non-conventional sources were presented. These are SEArcularMine, WaterMining, Life INDESAL and, finally, the Metallico project, presented consecutively by Fabrizio Vicari (ResourSEAs), Guillermo Zaragoza (CIEMAT), Luca Sbardella (ACCIONA) and José Luís Cortina (Barcelona Tech UPC).
Towards the end of the event, two round tables were held. The first, moderated by Nicholas Nelson from Omya, dealt with the recovery of metals and minerals as an economic lever for desalination plants and was attended by several experts: Naiara Hernández from Aqualia, Guillem Gilabert-Oriol from Dupont , Christopher Fellows from SWCC and Christos Charisiadis from NEOM portfolio. After a very interesting discussion, the second and last round table followed, this time moderated by Frederic Clarens from Eurecat, who initiated and led the debate on Market of critical raw materials: barriers and opportunities, together with José Luís Cortina from Barcelona Tech UPC, Fidel Grandia from Amphos 21 and Philip Barthelmess from Omya.
The workshop ended with a closing by Aina Amengual of the Catalan Water Partnership (CWP), main organizer of the event, and a final networking session and lunch in the same space.