Materials Strategy for the UK Automotive Sector – CE-hub Lunchtime Webinar

23/03/202312:00 pmOnline Webinar

The first CE-Hub Lunchtime Webinar of 2023 discussed the topic of material strategy for the UK automotive sector, with a focus on value retention processes, material prioritisation, and value retention of rare earth elements in permanent magnets.  

Chaired by Dr Zaneta Muranko, the session opened with a presentation from Rachel Waugh of Oakdene Hollins who gave an overview of the value retention processes (VRPs) framework, which connects to the extension of product lifespans. This included remanufacturing, comprehensive refurbishment, refurbishment, repair, and direct reuse and the hierarchy of these processes. Rachel talked about the benefits of value retention processes such as job creation and increased affordability, as well as the drawbacks. She outlined that the automotive industry is a really strong player for VR activities and that there is significant activity happening in the remanufacturing space.  

Rachel’s presentation was followed by Alan Banks, of Ford Motor Company. Alan presented to us the material prioritisation strategy for the UK automotive sector and the business case for onshoring materials. He spoke about the major predicted reduction in CO2 if we were able to onshore the materials needed in automotive production. Running through the study they conducted which looked at four main material groups (aluminium, steel, carbon fibre and glass fibre) Alan showed how onshoring could create more jobs and money alongside the reduction in carbon emissions. 

The final presentation came from Stefan Einarsson, Circular Economy and ESG Professional at SEIN Consulting and associate of the University of Exeter. Stefan’s presentation focused on the value retention of rare earth elements (REEs) in permanent magnets found in electric vehicles (EVs) and wind turbines. He summed up that the unlocking of circular economy potential requires visibility of the EV value chain and its specific component and material characteristics.  

The following Q&A and audience discussion brought up some interesting questions around the case for repurposing and the complexity of material tracking and digital passport, with participants keen to have further opportunity continue this discussion. 

Answers to additional questions from the Event Chat Box are available to download here.


Rachel Waugh, Senior Consultant, Oakdene Hollins 

Rachel Waugh, Principal Consultant at Oakdene Hollins, has a background in resource and process efficiency through her PhD in Engineering and her MA in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Cambridge. Her PhD explored ways to halve carbon dioxide emissions in the global steel and aluminium industries, and she contributed to the book ‘Sustainable Materials With Both Eyes Open’, which in 2015 Bill Gates listed as one of his “top five books to read”. Rachel joined Oakdene Hollins in 2013 and has contributed to studies to evaluate and quantify remanufacturing markets for Malaysia, Scotland and Europe, and value retention markets in Canada and most recently, the UK. Rachel participates in the Auto Council’s Net Zero Manufacturing and Supply Chain group and previously led on the Cars as Materials Banks project for APC. Her presentation outlines some of the key findings for the automotive sector from the UK study of value retention, including the current landscape, and emerging drivers and barriers to the greater uptake of these tighter loops of the Circular Economy. 

Alan Banks, UK Lightweighting Innovations Officer, Ford Motor Company 

Alan is the Lightweight Structures Supervisor within Innovation and Research at Ford Motor Company. His remit with the Innovation and Research team is to lead projects with light-weighting technologies and applications in design with mass production capability. This remit includes material choices from advanced steel to full composite structures, including hybrid technology to produce the best value for automotive applications. Alan is responsible for a team of 8 engineers to ensure customer expectations are met as well as component specifications for lightweight application technology. 

Stefán Einarsson, Circular Economy and ESG Professional, SEIN Consulting, University of Exeter associate 

Stefán is an independent senior consultant, working within the fields of Circular Economy and ESG management. He has 20 years’ experience from a range of consulting projects internationally. He has been involved in numerous projects related to Circular Economy and Circular Business Analysis; incl. Value Chain Analysis, Material Flow Analysis (MFA), assessment of circularity and value creation opportunities within different value chains, including for building materials, plastic and metals, at corporate, city and country levels. He has recently been working together with the CE-Hub on projects focusing on data and the role of data pooling networks to enable circular value creation within value chains for strategic materials, including a case study on REE PMs in Wind Turbines and EVs. Within the ESG space he has been active within due diligence of investment projects in numerous sectors, resource efficiency assessments as well as conducting various strategic ESG related analysis for IFIs. 

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