There is a long running historical debate over the access to natural resources and the progress of mankind. This debate dates back to the work of Malthus at the end of the 18th century, and includes resources as diverse as agricultural land and fossil fuels.
Recently attention has been drawn to the issue of the availability of certain materials critical to advanced low-carbon technologies. Could access to certain materials constrain the progress of a transition to a low carbon economy?
A series of UKERC working papers and reports investigate these issues to address the question:
“What is the evidence that the transition to a low-carbon economy may be influenced by access to critical materials?”
Synthesis ReportMaterials availability for low-carbon technologies: An assessment of the evidence (September 2014)
Materials Availability Handbook
An online guide highlighting the availability of materials that are critical components in low-carbon energy technologies.
- Material availability in the thin film photovoltaic sector - Working Paper I on material availability in the thin film photovoltaic sector
- Potential constraints to the future low-carbon economy: Batteries, Magnets and Materials - Working Paper II considers issues related to the availability of lithium and neodymium for electric vehicles
- Comparison of material criticality studies - Working Paper III, examining the literature measuring criticality of materials
Candelise, C., Speirs, J., and Gross, R. (2011) ‘Materials availability for thin film (TF) PV technologies development: a real concern?’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 15, Issue 9, pp 4972-4981.