KU Leuven is an international community where innovative research forms the basis of its education. Motivated and curious researchers are continuously gaining new insights and use their knowledge to tackle the current and future challenges of our society. One of the flagship KU Leuven institutes is the KU Leuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals (SIM²). SIM² KU Leuven’s mission is to develop, organise and implement problem-driven, science-deep research and future-oriented education, contributing to the environmentally friendly production and recycling of metals, minerals and engineered materials, supporting the transition to a climate-friendly, circular-economy. The research groups Sustainability assessments of materials and circular economy (SAM) and High temperature processes and industrial ecology (HiTemp) are part of SIM² KU Leuven. Both groups belong to the Department of Materials Engineering, which provides scientific research and education on the characteristics, behaviour, design and production of different materials for a better world.
The members of the Sustainability assessments of materials and circular economy (SAM) research group are deeply motivated to strengthen Circular Economy strategies by well-founded scientific insights. We are convinced a better data and evidence base for the circular economy and low carbon transition is needed, for which we develop integrated methodologies and new indicators to measure and model circular economy and resource efficiency, and to assess the environmental, social and economic life cycle impact of materials, products and circular economy business models from a systems perspective. Topics range from economic studies such as the criticality of future supply of metals, optimizing the sustainability of metallurgy and biorefineries, improving and assessing recycling technologies, and product service system business models, monitoring the CE for companies and regions, and developing concepts for product passports. Our research is highly inter- and transdisciplinary and we collaborate intensively with companies, ngo’s and governmental administrations, with a strong science-policy interaction.
The members of the High temperature processes and industrial ecology (HiTemp) research group are engaged in the transition to resource-efficient, climate-neutral and sustainable metal processing. For this, we aim to develop more efficient and more sustainable extraction and refining processes and to provide insight in the phenomena occurring during high temperature processing. Both fundamental, precompetitive and applied research is conducted within the domains of slag engineering, metal recovery, battery recycling, vessel integrity, plasma/vacuum/hydrogen metallurgy and metal quality.