Volume 4: Innovative Solutions for Energy Transitions: Part III

Do Metals Really Matter for the Energy Transition? An Endogenous Material Supply Chain in a Long-Term Energy Model Gondia Sokhna Seck, Emmanuel Hache, Marine Simoen, Florian Fosse



The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of the energy transition on raw material demand and answer the question whether or not lithium, copper, cobalt and nickel might become critical due to their high content in low-carbon technologies of the power and transport sectors. Growing need for these ores and refined metals is expected along with the energy transition toward a low-carbon system due to the fact that all decarbonisation innovations are very raw materialintensive. To achieve this goal, we have developed the first detailed global bottom-up energy model, TIAMIFPEN (TIMES Integrated Assessment Model) with an endogenous representation of the lithium, copper, nickel and cobalt supply chain. Lot of the literature analysis have been focused on battery’s materials such as lithium, cobalt and at a lesser extent nickel but none has implemented raw material supply chain in longterm energy scenario in order to evaluate if the availability of these materials could impede the energy transition. This article would also like in addition to give more focus on structural materials such as copper. Indeed, the criticality of these structural materials have been neglected despite the continuing policy focus on raw material criticality and the many reports and books written on the topic. This model would clearly assess the dynamic criticality of these strategic materials according to the optimal technology paths with environmental and/or energy solicitations through different approaches: geological, geopolitical, and economic towards a sustainable development. Two climate scenarios (4°C and 2°C) have been conducted with two shapes of mobility each. The penetration of low-carbon technologies in the transport and power sectors (electric vehicles, low-carbon power generation technologies, etc.) should increase copper, lithium, cobalt and nickel demands drastically by 2050. However, this approach would also highlight the public policy drivers that can mitigate our results. Here, the case of public policy based on an integrated approach to urban land-use and transport planning has been implemented. The study of these particular strategic materials shows that the model could be a useful decision-making tool for assessing future raw material market stresses along with energy transition for more efficient regional and sectorial screening.

Keywords Energy transition, Critical raw materials, Transport and power sector, Energy System Optimization Model, Lithium and cobalt, Copper and Nickel

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