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Innovation in Advanced Materials

The market for metal-based advanced materials, in high-tech sectors such as aerospace, automotive, communications, energy, defense and medicine, is growing fast across the world. Whether it be the cutting-edge materials needed to make a smartphone, a fiber-optic cable, a rechargeable vehicle battery, a spacecraft, or a precision medical instrument, advanced materials are a key enabling technology in many sectors driving human progress.

Given the fact that our natural resources are depleting, we are working at full speed to develop the next generation of sustainable advanced materials.

From the development of ultra-low-resistivity germanium wafers for photonics, to thermal imaging lenses used in firefighting and security, to the electroplating and thin film products that go into high-performance surface products and decorative materials, our innovations are behind many of the cutting-edge products enabling progress in the modern world. And we can support these state-of-the-art applications in a sustainable closed-loop model. For example, the substrate for solar cells used on the Mars Rover and infra-red optics being developed for driverless cars, are used making 50% recycled germanium. We are also innovating with alternative alloys that allow significant savings in electroplating, as well as costs of 90% and more compared to pure rhodium or palladium.

Our expertise in precious metals recycling is at the heart of Umicore’s closed-loop business model. We are closing our own and our customers’ materials loop, offering a sustainable circular approach in a world of metals scarcity. Our innovation is focused on extending our competitive edge in sustainable, complex and low-carbon recycling, meeting the demands of stronger legislation, sustainability and economic value. As an innovation and technology leader in metallurgy and chemistry, we are leveraging our unrivalled pyro- and hydro-metallurgy expertise to improve yields. To drive sustainability, we are leading on our CO2 performance with our NextGen technology, becoming the world-leading low-carbon precious metals recycler.

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