Devising Mineral Resource Supply Pathways to a Low-Carbon Electricity Generation by 2100
Mines ParisTech, Center for Applied Mathematics, PSL Research University, Rue Claude Daunesse, CS 10207, 06904 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, avenue Claude Guillemin, 45060 Orléans, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Resources 2019, 8(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8010033
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2019 / Published: 6 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responsible Sourcing of Materials Required for a Resource Efficient and Low-carbon Society)
Achieving a “carbon neutral” world by 2100 or earlier in a context of economic growth implies a drastic and profound transformation of the way energy is supplied and consumed in our societies. In this paper, we use life-cycle inventories of electricity-generating technologies and an integrated assessment model (TIMES Integrated Assessment Model) to project the global raw material requirements in two scenarios: a second shared socioeconomic pathway baseline, and a 2 °C scenario by 2100. Material usage reported in the life-cycle inventories is distributed into three phases, namely construction, operation, and decommissioning. Material supply dynamics and the impact of the 2 °C warming limit are quantified for three raw fossil fuels and forty-eight metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources. Depending on the time horizon, graphite, sand, sulfur, borates, aluminum, chromium, nickel, silver, gold, rare earth elements or their substitutes could face a sharp increase in usage as a result of a massive installation of low-carbon technologies. Ignoring nonfuel resource availability and value in deep decarbonation, circular economy, or decoupling scenarios can potentially generate misleading, contradictory, or unachievable climate policies.