This chapter explores the magnitude of the changes in patterns of material use that will be associated with the increasing deployment of renewable energy and discusses the implications for sustainable development. In particular, this chapter focuses on the increased use of lithium and cobalt, metals which are used extensively in battery technologies, and silver used in solar cells. Consistent with the strong growth in renewable energy and electrification of the transport system required in a 1.5°C scenario, the material requirements also rise dramatically, particularly for cobalt and lithium. Scenarios developed for this study show that increasing recycling rates and material efficiency can significantly reduce primary demand for metals.
Damien Giurco, Elsa Dominish, Nick Florin, Takuma Watari and Benjamin McLellan