On Friday June 19, two strong women bravely fought a fierce battle against the mythical figure Tantalus…

Why is this relevant here?? Well, it is the opening scene of the TARANTULA project video!

Testing a tantalum stick: does it withstand the blowtorch?

In reality two researchers from KU Leuven and VITO (dr. Martina Orefice (KU Leuven) and dr. Elena Seftel (VITO)) tested the properties of a tantalum-stick. Tantalum, just like tungsten and niobium, are incredibly strong and have special characteristics which make these elements highly interesting for our industry. They are used in rocket engines, in aircrafts, magnetic trains, superconductors, in pacemakers, and all sorts of high-quality cutting tools.

These metals are crucial for our industry, but most of tantalum is mined in Central Africa (Congo and Rwanda), niobium is mined in Brazil and tungsten in China. This dependence makes Europe vulnerable: all three elements are considered by the EU as critical raw materials, having a high economic importance and a high supply risk (based on the concentration of primary supply from raw materials producing countries, and considering the governance performance and trade aspects of these countries).

Our ‘movie star’ dr. Martina Orefice explaining the TARANTULA technologies

The TARANTULA project aims to recycle these elements from electronic scrap, industrial waste and mining residue. In order to do so, the consortium is developing nine innovative and eco-friendly methods.

The video is intended as a teaser for the audience to learn more about the TARANTULA project and the different innovative and eco-friendly methods that the TARANTULA researchers will further develop and apply to recycle these critical elements.

Curious about who won the fight? Stay tuned to watch the full video which will be launched in September 2020!


With special thanks to VITO for the contributions to the movie and the overall the logistical support

Tantalum versus sledgehammer? 1 – 0







Final scene – Take 36: bring out the TARANTULA technologies!