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A global renewable mix with proven technologies and common materials

AuthorsGarcía-Olivares, Antonio CSIC ORCID ; Ballabrera-Poy, Joaquim CSIC ORCID ; García-Ladona, Emilio CSIC ORCID ; Turiel, Antonio CSIC ORCID
KeywordsRenewable energysources
Sustainable development
Material consumption
Issue DateFeb-2012
CitationEnergy Policy 41: 561-574 (2012)
AbstractA global alternative mix to fossil fuels is proposed, based on proven renewable energy technologies that do not use scarce materials. The mix consists of a combination of onshore and offshore wind turbines, concentrating solar power stations, hydroelectricity and wave power devices attached to the offshore turbines. Solar photovoltaic power could contribute to the mix if its dependence on scarce materials is solved. The most adequate deployment areas for the power stations are studied, as well as the required space. Material requirements are studied for the generation, power transport and for some future transport systems. The order of magnitude of copper, aluminium, neodymium, lithium, nickel, zinc and platinum that may be required for the proposed solution is obtained and compared with available reserves. Overall, the proposed global alternative to fossil fuels seems technically feasible. However, lithium, nickel and platinum could become limiting materials for future vehicles fleet if no global recycling systems were implemented and rechargeable zinc-air batteries would not be developed; 60% of the current copper reserves would have to be employed in the implementation of the proposed solution. Altogether, they may become a long-term physical constraint, preventing the continuation of the usual exponential growth of energy consumption. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd
DescriptionSpecial section Modeling Transport (Energy) Demand and Policies.-- 14 pages, 2 figures, 2 tables, 6 appendix
Publisher version (URL)
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2011.11.018
issn: 0301-4215
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