Therefore its aim is an acceleration of the adoption of lightweight materials in strategic industries. Mobility is the primary focus of the alliance, but applications in other lightweighting-related sectors are also targeted; including energy, health care, defence and construction.
The European Green Deal aims to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. Lightweight technologies are key in achieving this goal. To cut down emissions and fuel consumption in transport, reducing vehicle weight is one of the most robust ways forward. In other sectors, lightweighting allows for efficient use of resources with high performance. Composites provide the highest potential for reducing weight but are encountering bottlenecks for their mass adoption by the automotive sector. The multi-material approach is gaining force in this and other sectors, with new challenges arising at both processing and performance levels.
The ELCA Network brings together 17 hubs from 15 European countries, 1637 SMEs, 303 large companies and 155 RTOs. The founder and coordinator of the network is Bax&Company from Spain. The Polish representative in the ELCA network is Bydgoszcz Industrial Cluster.
The alliance is creating a unique inclusive business framework for exploring lightweight-driven market opportunities. The main players from established industries and research institutions can collaborate and facilitate activities to put the lightweight technologies into practice. ELCA aims to enhance the coordination between technology users and developers in order to create new business opportunities in the field of lightweight materials. The ELCA members focus their innovation efforts on constantly developing new products and technologies by strengthening their mutual cooperation through synergistic collaborations.
ELCA is also international projects. In 2020, projects such as CENTAUR, RIGHTWEIGHT and ELCA COSME received funding from EU programmes. The last one - COSME ELCA - started on 1st September 2020 and one of its main partners is Bydgoszcz Industrial Cluster.
The next steps in the ELCA network are to create an online platform for its members where they can share their knowledge and equipment, and showcase events and funding opportunities, all related to the lightweight industry. After joining the platform, members have access to content that is related only to the described technology, they have the opportunity to directly build a network of contacts or find partners for R&D projects. The platform is still delevoped to be as functional as possible, providing members with as many options as possible to use it.
The European Lightweight Cluster Alliance is an initiative that is and will be developed all the time, because in the coming years the need to use composites in industry and to protect the natural environment will become stronger and stronger.