The EU must multiply the supply of metals to achieve climate goals

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This content was published on April 25, 2022 – 13:18

Brussels, Apr 25 (EFE) .- The European Union will have to multiply its supplies of various metals if it wants to build the necessary infrastructure to achieve climate neutrality in 2050 -that the EU emits only the CO2 that it is capable of absorbing in its territory- , according to a study by the Belgian university KU Leuven published this Monday.

Regarding the current supply, the European Union must increase its lithium reserves by 3,500% (35 times more), 330% that of cobalt, 100% that of nickel and 45% that of silicon, as well as around a one-third those of aluminum and copper, says the study, which warns that “without a new supply of primary metals and better recycling in the system, critical gaps are looming” to achieve climate goals.

The increases over current figures result in the amount of each metal Europe will require annually by 2050 to meet clean energy technology production plans, the university says in a statement.

These metals, they point out, are essential to manufacture products such as electric vehicles and batteries, as well as to develop wind, solar and hydrogen renewable energy technologies and the network infrastructure necessary to meet the emission reductions set by the EU. .

“Europe faces a critical deficit in the next fifteen years if it does not have more extracted and refined metals to supply the start of its clean energy system,” says the university, in which it urges measures to avoid a new situation of dependency on third countries such as Europe now has with fossil fuels.

The study warns of a shortage in the world supply of metals such as lithium, copper or nickel, which would worsen around 2040 and could be alleviated thereafter “provided that large investments are made in recycling infrastructures and solutions are legislative bottlenecks.

The researchers underline a “theoretical potential” for new national mines to cover between 5% and 55% of Europe’s needs in 2030 and also point to the need to open new refineries after the rise in oil prices energy has caused, they warn, the temporary closure of almost half of Europe’s aluminum and zinc refining capacity.

According to the data handled by the study, locally recycled metals could produce batteries for up to three quarters of electric vehicles manufactured in Europe, all permanent magnets and significant volumes of aluminum and copper, for which they consider recycling “the best opportunity of Europe to improve its long-term self-sufficiency”.

“It is a step forward that our clean energy system is based on permanent metals that can be recycled indefinitely, compared to the constant burning of fossil fuels today,” they say about a practice that saves, according to the researchers, between the 35% and 95% of the CO2 compared to the production of primary metals. EFE

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