Metals Used In Renewable Energy, Electric Cars, & A Low Carbon Technology Future

There are certain metals which are currently used in low carbon technology, and may be in more demand in the future to help make cleaner/greener technology.

In this guide, we outline those metals and minerals for technology such as renewable energy and electric vehicles with electric batteries.

 

Summary – Metals Used In Renewable, Electric Car, and Low Carbon Technology

Metals are used in renewable energy, electric cars, and low carbon technology

Specifically, they can be used in wind energy, solar photovoltaic, CCS, nuclear, EVs, energy storage and electric motors

There’s particular metals that could see an increase in demand in the future in these types of technology

Just as one example – metals used in electric car batteries might be in higher demand as the number of EVs on the road continues to increase

 

Examples Of How Metals Are Used In Clean Technology

Just a few examples are:

Copper is used as a conductor for wind power

Indium and gallium are used in the coatings of photovoltaic film 

Rare earth metals are used for a range of technologies from low-energy lighting and catalytic converters to the magnets used in wind turbines, EVs and computer hard-drives

Various metals are used in electric car batteries

 

Metals Used In Renewable Energy, Electric Cars & Electric Batteries

Metals used in the following technology types are:

Wind – Aluminum, Chromium, Copper, Indium, Iron (cast), Iron (magnet), Lead, Manganese, Molybdenum, Neodymium (proxy for rare earths), Nickel, Steel (engineering)

Solar Photovoltaic – Aluminum, Copper, Indium, Lead, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silver, Zinc

Concentrating Solar Power – Aluminum, Iron (cast), Silver

Carbon Capture & Storage – Aluminum, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Indium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel

Nuclear Power – Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Indium, Lead, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silver

Light Emitting Diodes – Aluminum, Chromium, Copper, Indium, Iron (cast), Lead, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silver, Zinc

Electric Vehicles – Cobalt, Copper, Manganese, Neodymium (proxy for rare earths), Nickel, Silver

Energy Storage – Aluminum, Cobalt, Iron (cast), Nickel

Electric Motors – Aluminum, Copper, Iron (magnet)

– carbonbrief.org, and documents.worldbank.org

In their article, Carbonbrief discuss the impact of using low carbon technology over time compared to conventional technology.

They take into account energy and environmental impact during extraction and production, but also water footprint, and lifetime carbon footprint.

 

Electric vehicles have lithium ion batteries which use rare earth metals, and lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite

– generalkinematics.com

 

Future Demand For Metals In Lower Carbon Technology

[In terms of wind, solar and energy storage batteries] … metals which could see a growing market include aluminum (including its key constituent, bauxite), cobalt, copper, iron ore, lead, lithium, nickel, manganese, the platinum group of metals, silver, steel, titanium, zinc, and rare earth metals including cadmium, molybdenum, neodymium, and indium. 

– thermofisher.com

 

It can be hard to definitively say which metals will be in most demand in the future though.

Technology and demand of the market can change with time.

Forecasts can be made though based on current technology.

 

Sources

1. https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-these-six-metals-are-key-to-a-low-carbon-future

2. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/207371500386458722/The-Growing-Role-of-Minerals-and-Metals-for-a-Low-Carbon-Future 

3. https://www.generalkinematics.com/blog/electric-vehicles-and-the-effect-on-the-metal-market/ 

4. https://www.thermofisher.com/blog/mining/mining-metals-for-a-renewable-energy-future/

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