ULiège Raw Materials University Day
On Tuesday 29 October 2019, the University of Liège will host the Raw Materials University Day. Organised by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, this event aims to raise awareness among the general public, and more particularly secondary school students, of the importance of raw materials and the professions involved in their management and use.
Some key elements to better understand the issue: energy transition and the circular economy.
Raw Materials University Day, is a European day dedicated to raw materials. For whom? For whom? For what? For what?
Until a few centuries ago, farmers and blacksmiths used exclusively renewable energy. Whether it was animal power, charcoal or even windmill, these energies were widely available and did not require exceptional infrastructure. A maximum of seven metals were used to serve needs as diverse as armaments, construction or jewellery: gold; silver; iron; tin; copper; lead... and mercury.
The industrial revolution has multiplied by a thousand the energy needs of each individual, biomass no longer being able to keep up, we have turned to fossil biomass and since then we have never extracted as much lignite, coal, gas or oil as in 2019. This frenetic consumption, or more precisely consumption, is challenging and inevitably raises the question of limits, whether through an analysis of remaining reserves or through the concern to limit CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. The uninterrupted growth in population and the access of more people to better material comfort only reinforce this pressing feeling of a necessary change of course. The great opportunity for humanity is that there are still enough fossil resources to give itself time to analyse a possible energy future, whether centralised or decentralised, whether it is based on a better understanding of nuclear energy, a better knowledge of geothermal resources or a better performance of wind and photovoltaic technologies. For many engineers and energy specialists, there is in any case no need to act in haste under the threat of a climate emergency or an anti-nuclear ukase.
The circular economy of metals is an interesting paradigm for reflecting on sustainable development. But it is only a paradigm and for it to become a reality it is essential to address the four major challenges ahead by putting in place the necessary technologies, standards and economic rules.
Geologist, you just said ?
Geologists and geo-engineers study the earth, and in particular the resources of the subsoil, with the dual mission of making them available to society and protecting them from any degradation. Whether exploring and evaluating water, hydrocarbon, building materials or metal ore resources, geologists and geo-engineers must have an excellent understanding of natural mechanisms (structural geology, sedimentology, magmatic petrology, mineralogy,...). They must be able to use the latest generation satellites for earth observation (remote sensing), develop new techniques for subsoil imaging (geophysics) or master the most advanced mathematical tools for 3D (geostatistics) and even 4D resource modelling (groundwater flow modelling, etc.).
Although too often unknown to the general public, geology is at the heart of social issues and is an essential advisor on the path to sustainable development. Whether it is to mitigate the impact of human activity on ecosystems and water resources, anticipate natural disasters on local populations and infrastructure or manage material and mineral sources sustainably by controlling the risks of pollution, geologists and geo-engineers maintain a dialogue between man and nature, between the environment and industry, between the heritage of the past and the anticipation of the future.
Become a geologist (engineer) at the University of Liège
A pioneer in the training of geo-engineers for more than a hundred years, ULiège is a reference university in Europe, as evidenced by its wide range of training courses, its presence in leading European networks and the excellence of its research.
It offers training courses more oriented towards understanding the natural environment such as the Master in Geology (Faculty of Science) and training courses more directly oriented towards the exploitation and protection of resources such as the Master of Civil Engineering in Mining and Geology (Faculty of Applied Sciences).
On the occasion of the European Raw Materials Day, ULiège is particularly proud to highlight the Master in Resources Engineering (EMerald). Labelled by KIC EITRawMaterials, this two-year training course allows the best engineers to specialize in both primary raw materials and recycling. In addition to the quality of the training, students of all nationalities have the opportunity to experience a common multicultural and entrepreneurial path that will lead them to study at the best universities in the field in France, Sweden and Germany.