U.S. Department of Energy: Diese Roh­stoffe sind knapp bei der Energie­wende

Das US-Energieministerium schaut sich in regelmäßigen Studien an, wie es um die Versorgung mit kritischen Materialien steht. Mit Blick auf die für die Energiewende erforderlichen Rohstoffe kommt es dabei – wie ich finde – durchaus zu einem alarmierenden Ergebnis. Schauen wir kurz auf die neueste Ausgabe:

  • „The global effort to curb carbon emissions is accelerating demand for clean energy technologies and the materials they rely on. Demand for these materials will only continue to grow, especially as some nations aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. While some major materials like steel, copper, and aluminum are already powering the fossil fuel economy, others are more minor materials with potential supply risks. (…) In some cases, it may be necessary to take action to improve the resilience of these material supply chains and mitigate supply risks.“ – bto: Aber auch in anderen Bereichen ist der Zugriff auf Rohstoffe wichtig. Hier besteht Nachholbedarf an Strategie im Westen.

Die Autoren fassen die Highlights der Studie aus ihrer Sicht so zusammen:

  • Rare earth materials (neodymium [Nd], praseodymium [Pr], dysprosium [Dy], and terbium [Tb]) used in magnets in EV motors and wind turbine generators continue to be critical. While Dy and Tb are both heavy rare earth elements that serve the same function in magnets, the criticality of Tb is slightly lower than that for Dy in the short term due to the widespread use of Dy in high-grade magnets and Tb’s present role as a substitute. Similarly, Pr is critical in the medium term but only near critical in the short term because it is more substitutable in magnets than Nd.“ – bto: Gerade hier hat China vorgesorgt, wie wir wissen.
  • Materials used in batteries for EVs and stationary storage are now considered to be critical. While cobalt (Co) was found to be critical in this and previous reports, lithium (Li) becomes critical in the medium term due to its broader use in various battery chemistries and the rampant growth of the EV industry. Natural graphite is a new addition in this assessment and is also found to be critical.“ – bto: Indonesien diskutiert ein Kartell für Lithium und fordert lokale Wertschöpfung.
  • Platinum group metals used in hydrogen electrolyzers, such as platinum (Pr) and iridium (Ir), are critical due to an increased focus on hydrogen technologies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, whereas those used in catalytic converters, such as rhodium (Rh) and palladium (Pd), were screened out due to the decreased importance of catalytic converters in the medium term.“ – bto: Die Wasserstoffwirtschaft ist bekanntlich eines der größten Investments.
  • Gallium (Ga) continues to be critical due to its use in light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In addition, the use of Ga has increased in magnet manufacturing and in semiconductors in forms such as gallium arsenide (GaAs) or gallium nitride (GaN).“ – bto: … siehe den Beitrag von vorgestern.
  • Major materials like aluminum (Al), copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), and silicon (Si) move from noncritical in the short term to near critical in the medium term due to their importance in electrification.“ – bto: Hier hat Russland eine starke Stellung.
  • Electrical steel is near critical due to its use in transformers for the grid and electric motors in EVs.“ – bto: Und wir bekommen eine weltweite Jagd auf diese Rohstoffe.  

Und dann die etwas ausführlichere Begründung:

  • The world has witnessed a global surge in adoption of EVs, resulting in increased demand for vital components like lithium-ion batteries, rare earth magnets, electrical steel, and power electronics. Global EV sales increased from 716,000 vehicles in 2015 to 10.6 million vehicles in 2022. China has been at the forefront of this growth, accounting for 60% of the new EV registrations worldwide in 2022, encompassing various vehicle types such as cars, trucks, vans, and buses. The swift growth in EV sales has resulted in increased demand for vital components such as lithium-ion batteries, rare earth magnets, electrical steel in both motors and charging infrastructure, and power electronics. Manufacturers are under significant pressure to ensure availability of these components.“ – bto: Die Frage ist, woher diese Rohstoffe kommen.  
  • Doubling of offshore wind capacity leads to compounded demand for rare earth magnets. Although offshore wind accounted for less than 7% of global wind capacity in 2022, its growth from 27 gigawatts (GW) in 2019 to 56 GW in 2021 drove the technology’s demand share for rare earth magnets. Annual installations grew from 6.2 GW in 2019 to 21.1 GW in 2021. New installations will continue to grow fivefold to sevenfold between 2021 and 2035 depending on low and high deployment scenarios according to International Energy Agency’s projection. This growth is due to the deployment of direct-drive turbines that use rare earth magnets to reduce weight and maintenance needs for wind turbines in offshore settings.
  • Grid stationary storage is growing quickly but needs to increase significantly to reach net-zero emissions (NZE) goals. Deployment is bottlenecked by lithium, nickel, and graphite supplies. From 2019 to 2021, the global installed capacity of grid-scale battery storage grew from 6 GW to 16 GW. A significant expansion in stationary storage, reaching up to 680 GW by 2030, necessitates an average annual addition of about 80 GW. Currently, lithium-ion batteries, especially lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP), dominate the stationary storage market, but flow batteries show potential for competitiveness as the technology matures, potentially reaching 50% of demand capacity by 2030. As redox flow batteries and alternative technologies gain traction, this dependence is expected to become less of an issue for stationary storage.“ – bto: Technischer Fortschritt erlaubt neue Materialien.
  • Global hydrogen demand is expected to increase, leading to a concurrent rise in demand for iridium and platinum in electrolyzers. Historically, hydrogen use has been concentrated in the chemical, refining, and steel industries. In 2021, global hydrogen consumption was 94 million tonnes (Mt). Hydrogen demand is expected to grow in three main areas: (1) decarbonization of long-distance heavy- and medium-duty trucks, air, and marine transport; (2) applications requiring stationary storage; and (3) applications requiring high-temperature heat generation and chemical production, specifically to produce low-carbon ammonia, methanol, and various other chemicals.“ – bto: Und es ist sehr teuer.  
  • Silicon-based power electronics currently dominate the power electronics market but silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) are expected to grow significantly. Silicon-based power electronics currently dominate the market, accounting for 96% of the market share by value in 2022 due to their lower production costs and mature technologies. However, the market share of silicon power electronics is expected to decline, reaching 80% by 2028. SiC is projected to reach a 17% market share by 2028, driven primarily by its use in EVs for inverters and charging infrastructure. GaN, while growing in use for consumer electronics and communications, is limited to niche applications due to its higher cost.“ – bto: … unter anderem im militärischen Bereich.
  • The demand for electrical steel has increased due to the need for electric grid expansion and modernization as well as use in EV motors and charging infrastructure. The global power grid market was valued at $271.43B in 2022. This market will grow to reach $414.91B by 2032. There are two key driving factors for the electric grid market. First, renewable energy growth has led to an increase in smaller-scale power plants and distributed grids closer to end users. Renewable energy integration also requires grid expansion and modernization with added sensors, automation systems, and analytical tools to manage energy in real time. Second, demand from manufacturing, health care, and data centers is increasing as a result of urbanization and industrialization. Electrical steel used in EVs requires a higher grade than that used in industrial motors and other automotive motors. Concerns arise related to slow and expensive capacity expansion for EV-grade electrical steel on a global basis.“ – bto: Das setzt Grenzen für das Wachstum der Elekroautos. Muss man wissen, wenn man die Alternative verbietet.
  • „Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) now dominate more than 50% of the global lighting market share. Traditional lighting sources such as fluorescent, incandescent, and high-intensity discharge lamps are being replaced by LEDs due to their superior performance in terms of energy efficiency, lifespan, versatility, and color quality, as well as reductions in their production costs. Globally, LEDs accounted for more than 50% of the lighting market share in 2020 and 2021. In addition to general lighting, Also gaining in popularity are LED grow lights for indoor farming and advanced lighting systems in automobiles to improve safety and riding experience. Emerging technology such as Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) that transmits data through LEDs is also driving the LED market due to its better speed, security, and efficiency compared to Wi-Fi.“ – bto: Es ist alles nicht damatisch, aber eben ein wichtiger Treiber für die Nachfrage von Rohstoffen.
  • Crystalline silicon remains the dominant technology in the photovoltaic market due to its well-established status and lower production costs. Solar photovoltaics (PVs) currently contribute 3.6% of global electricity generation and 4.5% of U.S. generation. To achieve net-zero carbon emission goals, the share of solar energy supply needs to reach 23% globally and approximately 45% in the United States by 2050. Si-based PV accounted for ~88% of global market share by value in 2021, followed by thin-film PV (9% market share), and others (3% market share). Cadmium-telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar PV is currently accounting for a significant portion of new utility-scale solar projects in the United States but remains around 5% globally, while global production of copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) has halted.“ – bto: Die Energiewende ist enorm energie- und rohstoffintensiv.

Das Ergebnis wird dann in einer Darstellung zusammengefasst: „Over the medium term (2025– 2035), the importance and supply risk scores for certain materials shift. Specifically, nickel, platinum, magnesium, SiC, and praseodymium become critical, primarily due to their roles in batteries and vehicle lightweighting. Aluminum, copper, and silicon become near critical in the medium term due to increased demand in solar energy technologies, global electrification, and vehicle lightweighting.“

Quelle: U.S. Department of Energy

  • In total, the assessment evaluates an initial list of 38 materials essential to clean energy technologies, 23 of which are evaluated for their criticality after passing the initial screening. Of those, seven are found to be critical for clean energy in the short term, while 13 are found to be critical in the medium term. As the energy sector continues to decarbonize, the list of potential materials essential to clean energy technologies will only increase.“

Und jetzt wird es interessant:

  • It is important to note that while some materials might not be deemed critical in this assessment, certain value chain steps might have bottlenecks that were not examined closely in this report.“ – bto: Denn wir wissen, dass es gerade hier einige von China besetzte Positionen gibt.

U.S. Department of Energy: „Critical Materials Assessment“, July 2023