The availability of critical minerals for China’s renewable energy development: an analysis of physical supply
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AbstractIn the context of depletion of fossil energy and environmental impacts of its use, society has begun to develop vigorously renewable energy (RE). As a result, concerns about the availability of critical minerals used in RE systems have been raised. This paper uses a generalized Weng model to analyze the long-term production of critical minerals for China’s RE development. In our pessimistic case, the results show that the production of most of the minerals investigated for China will peak before 2030, with a relatively high decline rate thereafter. This is an unsustainable situation for China’s RE development unless large and growing quantities of these minerals can be imported. In our optimistic case, although this delays the peak date only slightly, it significantly increases the maximum production rate and lowers the subsequent decline rate. The impacts of many other factors on production, and the implications of China’s domestic minerals production on world’s minerals supply chain, are also analyzed. We conclude that both China and the world should pay close attention to the potential supply risks to critical minerals. Possible measures in response are suggested for both China and the world.
CitationWang J, Yang L, Bentley Y, Lin J (2020) 'The availability of critical minerals for China’s renewable energy development: an analysis of physical supply', Natural Resources Research, 29, pp.2991-2306.
JournalNatural Resources Research