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Critical Metals in Strategic Energy Technologies: Assessing Rare Metals as Supply-Chain Bottlenecks in Low-Carbon Energy Technologies

EC Joint Research Centre, November 2011


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Resource information:
Resource IDecjrcmetals2011
Resource titleCritical Metals in Strategic Energy Technologies: Assessing Rare Metals as Supply-Chain Bottlenecks in Low-Carbon Energy Technologies
Author(s)R.L. Moss, E. Tzimas, H. Kara, P. Willis, J. Kooroshy
Publication/ sourceEC Joint Research Centre
Date publishedNovember 2011
Summary text/ abstractDue to the rapid growth in demand for certain materials, compounded by political risks associated with the geographical concentration of the supply of them, a shortage of these materials could be a potential bottleneck to the deployment of low-carbon energy technologies. The study looks at the average annual demand for each metal for the deployment of the technologies in Europe between 2020 and 2030. The demand of each metal is compared to the respective global production volume in 2010. This ratio (expressed as a percentage) allows comparing the relative stress that the deployment of the six technologies in Europe is expected to create on the global supplies for these different metals. The study identifies 14 metals for which the deployment of the six technologies will require 1% or more (and in some cases, much more) of current world supply per annum between 2020 and 2030. The report pinpoints 5 of the 14 metals to be at high risk, namely: the rare earth metals neodymium and dysprosium, and the by-products (from the processing of other metals) indium, tellurium and gallium. The report explores a set of potential mitigation strategies, ranging from expanding European output, increasing recycling and reuse to reducing waste and finding substitutes for these metals in their main applications.
Library categoriesEnergy, 'Limits to Growth', Nuclear, Peak Oil, Technology
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file iconCritical Metals in Strategic Energy Technologies: Assessing Rare Metals as Supply-Chain Bottlenecks in Low-Carbon Energy Technologies [3.5 megabytes]
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