The energy mix of the planet is on a dynamic threshold of change. It is reported that the International Energy Agency is anticipating renewable electricity generation to rise by over one-third by 2022, and this only reiterates the increasing importance of renewable sources of energy. Here are a few materials that are critical to harnessing energy solar panels, batteries, turbines, and more.
Copper has been an object of exploration for decades and is an important material across the renewable energy sector. The European Copper Institute (ECI) states that copper is used in earthing, cabling, inverters, transformers, and more.
Lithium-ion technologies account for considerable new energy-storage deployments and according to sources is expected to triple to around 570,000 tonnes by 2025. They are used in electric and hybrid vehicles and are critical for renewable energy storage. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) attributes the popularity to its characteristics like high-energy density and its ability to recharge.
Cobalt reportedly plays an integral part in the lithium-ion battery and is reiterated by the Cobalt Institute, a non-profit trade association. Apart from which, the United States Geological Survey website displays the leading use of cobalt in rechargeable battery electrodes.
The most common material used in solar cells is stated as silicon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE adds that cells made from silicon offer low costs, long lifetime, and high-efficiency.
In the production of solar power, water plays a vital role. And, large-scale technologies including parabolic troughs and power towers need water to produce electricity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The SEIA also states that a large-scale facility like the Nevada Solar One plant would use around 850 gallons of water per megawatt hour, which would work to around 300,000 gallons per acre annually.
Vanadium is also used in large-scale battery systems, and the bulk of the metal is either produced as a by-product of steelmaking or is mined.