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There can be no wind or solar energy, no smart grids and no electric vehicles without copper, aluminium or steel, to name but a few materials. What Europe must do is enable advanced processing of materials in order to close the loop, writes Dr Katia Lacasse.

On 7 November, Eurometaux organised a workshop to discuss how to stimulate substitution in the metals sector from a circular economy perspective. The latter is key, since closing the loop through safe reuse or recycling will improve the performance of substances exponentially, significantly lowering the risk of a given material.

On 16 October, the Copper REACH Consortium joined 14 other consortia—representing around 300 substances, including most metals—to formalise our cooperation with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on the Metals and Inorganics Sectorial Approach (MISA).

The theme of this year’s EU mobility week is multimodality: mixing different, sustainable transport modes for our journeys. Electric modes of transportation—be they vehicles, trams or trains—are all powered by copper, and the shift towards renewable energy will require more copper than is currently used.  We consider the past, present and future role of the red metal to illustrate why there is plenty of copper to achieve the clean energy revolution.