Critical materials for the transition to 100% sustainable energy

Published: 20/02/2014

WWF has recently published a study conducted by Ecofys on possible supply chain bottlenecks in a transition to a fully sustainable energy system as represented in The Energy Report. The main conclusion from this study is that although an increased demand for scarce materials for renewable energy technologies might lead to supply chain bottlenecks, these bottlenecks can be overcome by appropriate action. Substitution of critical materials by other, less critical materials, and increased recycling can alleviate potential bottlenecks.

Some of the materials examined in this study are lithium and cobalt for batteries in electric vehicles, indium, gallium and tellurium, used in photovoltaics and energy efficient lighting, copper for electricity distribution and energy supply and neodymium and yttrium in wind turbines.