Global consumption of materials is rising rapidly leading to an increase in environmental impacts associated with the supply chain. Similar issues also affect a set of materials strategic for the transition towards a sustainable energy production and distribution system: i.e. materials employed in renewable energy (wind turbines and photovoltaic panels), energy storage, electrolysers, electricity distribution networks and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The analysis identifies, maps and de-fines a priority hierarchy for the environmental risks generated along the life-cycle of strategic raw materials. Standard construction material such as iron, steel and concrete showed the lowest environmental risks whereas platinum and iridium presented by far the highest impacts (respectively about 24.100 and 14.700 kg CO2 eq, 354.000 and 216.000 MJ, and 140 and 83 m3 of water for 1 kg of raw material). Recycled materials have shown to enable the lowering of the environmental risk associated with some raw material production processes (i.e. copper, lead, aluminium, nickel, manganese), whereas specific materials (i.e. platinum, iridium, indium, dysprosium) and related applications will need to be monitored to guarantee a sustainable transition towards renewable energies.

A CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS OF STRATEGIC MATERIALS TOWARDS ENERGY TRANSITION

Gallo M.;Moreschi L.;Del Borghi A.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Global consumption of materials is rising rapidly leading to an increase in environmental impacts associated with the supply chain. Similar issues also affect a set of materials strategic for the transition towards a sustainable energy production and distribution system: i.e. materials employed in renewable energy (wind turbines and photovoltaic panels), energy storage, electrolysers, electricity distribution networks and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The analysis identifies, maps and de-fines a priority hierarchy for the environmental risks generated along the life-cycle of strategic raw materials. Standard construction material such as iron, steel and concrete showed the lowest environmental risks whereas platinum and iridium presented by far the highest impacts (respectively about 24.100 and 14.700 kg CO2 eq, 354.000 and 216.000 MJ, and 140 and 83 m3 of water for 1 kg of raw material). Recycled materials have shown to enable the lowering of the environmental risk associated with some raw material production processes (i.e. copper, lead, aluminium, nickel, manganese), whereas specific materials (i.e. platinum, iridium, indium, dysprosium) and related applications will need to be monitored to guarantee a sustainable transition towards renewable energies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1098318
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