Adrian contributed to a session to the University of St Andrews Centre for Energy Ethics talk programme called the ‘Energy Cafe’ on Tuesday 15th March. These are a series of open sessions on Energy-related topics which involve people from across the whole University and Industry Sectors. The presentation is available online at: https://youtu.be/gtTAY7mr9eY
In this Energy Cafe, I explore the commitments made by many countries to decarbonise their economies through the eyes of a geologist. The vision for a green low-carbon economy involves the use of ‘renewable’ energies such as wind turbines and electric vehicles, often described as ‘zero-emission’ or ‘carbon-free’. However, each wind turbine contains about half a tonne of the metal neodymium (Nd), which constitutes only 0.1 per cent of its ore. This means that for the 500 kg of Nd in each magnet, more than 500 tonnes of rock were mined, crushed and processed, and this is certainly not carbon-free. Are simplistic but profoundly misleading terms (like ‘zero-emission vehicles’) helpful or counterproductive? Second, sudden increases in demand for critical metal resources used in green technologies are unattainable unless many more critical metal mines are opened. Yet one often sees the mining and exploration sectors portrayed as part of the problem, not integral to the solution. I review critical metal resources available to Europe, plus the solutions that will need to be implemented to ensure Europe is successful as a producer of critical resources. Do attitudes towards mining hinder Europe’s transition to a green e-tech economy?
To register please click here: Energy Cafe Tickets, Tue, Mar 15, 2022 at 12:00 PM | Eventbrite (UK time).