Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rare earth metal shortages could hamper deployment of low-carbon energy technologies

Date:
November 10, 2011
Source:
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Summary:
Scientists report that five metals, essential for manufacturing low-carbon technologies, show a high risk of shortage. Reasons for this lie in Europe's dependency on imports, increasing global demand, supply concentration and geopolitical issues.

Following the release of a Commission report on critical raw materials in 2010, scientists at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) highlighted in a new report that five metals, essential for manufacturing low-carbon technologies, show a high risk of shortage. Reasons for this lie in Europe's dependency on imports, increasing global demand, supply concentration and geopolitical issues. The report recommends actions to prevent shortages and thus allow a smooth implementation of the Commission's Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan, aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of low carbon technologies.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "European companies need to have a secure, affordable and undistorted access to raw materials. This is essential for industrial competitiveness, innovation and jobs in Europe. Today's report highlights that we are on the right track with our raw materials strategy."

Following the Commission's report on critical raw materials at EU level last year, the JRC has now carried out an in depth analysis of the use of raw materials, especially metals, in the six priority low-carbon energy technologies of the Commission's SET-Plan: nuclear, solar, wind, bio-energy, carbon capture and storage and electricity grids.

The study Critical Metals in Strategic Energy Technologies reveals that five metals commonly used in these technologies -- neodymium, dysprosium, indium, tellurium and gallium -- show a high risk of shortage. Europe depends on imports for many of these, for which there is rapidly increasing global demand and limited supply, often concentrated in a few countries with associated political risks. Furthermore, they are not easily recyclable or substitutable.

A large-scale deployment of solar energy technologies, for example, will require half the current world supply of tellurium and 25% of the supply of indium. At the same time, the envisaged deployment of wind energy technology in Europe will require large amounts of neodymium and dysprosium, (about 4% of the current global supply each) for permanent magnet generators, which could only be eased if the supply of such metals in the future is increased, which may not be simple. Virtually the whole European supply of these metals comes from China.

The report considers possible strategies to avoid or mitigate shortage of these metals, including promoting recycling and reuse and looking into substitution by other less critical materials. Further measures could be alternative technologies and even increasing Europe's primary production, for example by opening new or dormant mines.

Similar studies will be made by the JRC in the near future on other energy technologies that also use strategic metals, such as electric vehicles, electricity storage, lighting and fuel cells.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC). "Rare earth metal shortages could hamper deployment of low-carbon energy technologies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110125635.htm>.
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC). (2011, November 10). Rare earth metal shortages could hamper deployment of low-carbon energy technologies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110125635.htm
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC). "Rare earth metal shortages could hamper deployment of low-carbon energy technologies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110125635.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins