Rare mineral supply to hinder achievement of renewable energy targets

  • The European Commission has released information that the targets for renewable energy running up to 2020 could be seriously hindered by a shortfall in the global supply of rare minerals and metals.
  • The report more precisely indicates that the production of Photovoltaic (PV) panels will be affected by material supply issues associated with growth in the PV market – where even abundant materials such as silicon would need to see dramatic increase in growth of 15% to meet PV production demands up to 2040.
  • Issues of competition will also affect supply as the electronics industry experiences exponential growth over the coming years which could have an upward impact on the price of raw materials and ultimately the end product which is the main issue for the UK given that limited production occurs within its borders.

Given that the limiting factor is predicted to be rate of production rather than material reserves, the need for better PV recycling and research into more efficient mineral processing and production would help stabilise the future PV market and furthermore help achieve the 2020 targets set by the EU. Many of the technological advances that are thought to aid the industry are 10+ years away but the demand for PV technology fuelled by environmental concerns and economic pressure is growing now.

For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/cq2ap9z

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