Article

An assessment of metal supply sustainability as an input to policy: Security of supply extraction rates, stocks-in-use, recycling, and risk of scarcity

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Abstract

The integrated model WORLD and Hubbert's model were used for assessment of future supply for different metals: iron, nickel, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, tantalum, niobium, rhenium, zirconium, tungsten, cobalt, copper, zinc, lead, aluminium and the technology metals derived from copper–zinc mining (tellurium, selenium, gallium, indium, antimony, bismuth, tin, germanium, selenium). The connections between their productions were mapped. The literature was reviewed for best estimates of total recoverable amounts, and best estimates were made, considering extraction costs and extractability. Peak years were determined for all the metals studied. Most metals seem to reach peak production during the next 4 decades, suggesting a risk for shortages in the near future. When supplies from mines dwindle, measures such as recycling from society's stock, substitutions to other materials than metals when this is possible, and stopped dissipative uses, will become important mitigation tools, calling for reorganization of resource policies world-wide. Present resource policies at all levels (regional, national, international) are to a large degree inadequate and need thorough review. The relevance of the Hubbert's model as an assessment tool was done. It is useful for all metals taken from independent ore deposits, whereas the method appears to be less suited for extraction of dependent metals unless the curve is derived from the Hubbert's model applied on the parent source. In such times, strategic thinking and strategic leadership based in systems thinking will be required.

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... Moreover, global demand for critical material resources has increased ten-fold since 1900 and is expected to double by 2030 Krausmann et al., 2009;Moss et al., 2011b). Keeping in mind this growing demand, Sverdrup et al. (2017) highlighted that many of the most critical materials for human society might be at risk of scarcity in the coming decades. Therefore, reliable and unconstrained access to critical raw materials is a growing concern within the world economy. ...
... This is, however, only a conditional part of what may constitute a solution (Graedel et al., 2011b). We need to look at sustainable recycling because past experiences demonstrate that efficiency gains are typically used to increase the overall quantity rather than save resources (Sverdrup et al., 2017). ...
... Given the rapid increase in primary and secondary niobium production over the last 15 years (Mackay and Simandl, 2014), the production rate will peak in 2025 with around 60% recycling rate (Sverdrup et al., 2017). A detailed review conducted by the United Nations Environmental Program estimated end-of-life recycling rate and recycling content of niobium to be more than 50% between 2000 and 2005 (Graedel et al., 2011b). ...
Thesis
The world’s supply of critical materials such as phosphorus (P), niobium (Nb), lithium (Li) and other strategically important elements is under increasing pressure due to the rapidly growing global demand in the recent years and limited possibilities of substitution. These materials are used in producing a broad range of products in everyday life and forming an integral part of many advanced and clean energy technologies. Hence, such materials are significant for many industrial sectors and essential to societal wellbeing. Therefore, the steady supply of critical materials starts to be one of the key economic and environmental questions. Moreover, the analysis of flows of those materials coming from mining and recycling starts to evoke the growing interest. A systematic understanding of how such materials flow through the industrial and residential sectors is required. Such awareness of materials’ inclusion in various products and their current stocks in the anthroposphere improve the potential of recycling and reuse of those materials as well as minimize overall waste. This dissertation presents dynamic models for critical materials such as P, Nb, and Li by using system dynamicsmethodology. It considers all stages of supply chain by addressing material and energy flows as well as greenhouse gas emissions. The main finding assists in optimizing for environmentally sustainable operations in designing and modelling of the critical materials supply chain. The findings indicate a clear need to analyse the recycling processes carefully. The obtained results show that recycling of used products containing critical materials, in some cases, aims to prevent the shortage of those materials and contributes to developing a robust circular economy. However, the environmental sustainability of recycling procedures for all materials could not be taken for granted, because it could differ based on the type of the waste stream. For some critical materials, recycling can cause more environmental damage than mining. Therefore, we should not treat critical materials as a homogeneous group. Recycling carried out using the existing technologies is a partial solution for some materials. In addition, there are physical limitations to the increasing of the recycling rate for some materials. The main limiting conditions of recycling can be economic, environmental, and physical by nature. The lattermost means that even if recycling is both more profitable and “greener” than mining, it is still impossible to completely replace primary production with the secondary one.
... For centuries, copper ores were mined and processed to provide copper raw materials (CRM), including copper pipes, copper sheets, copper tubes, copper plates, copper bars, copper sheets, and copper coils, for manufacturing (Tong and Lifset, 2007). However, due to exponential growth in the amount of copper-manufactured products, copper is considered a scarce mineral with only 60 years of expected availability at current production levels (Harmsen et al., 2013;Sverdrup et al., 2017). Recycling copper is one of the best ways to alleviate a resource shortage. ...
... Thus, copper has been the second most strategic raw material following petroleum (Wang, 2014). However, mineral resources are nonrenewable natural resources, and copper ore will be exhausted within a few decades under the current mining level based on predictions in previous studies (Harmsen et al., 2013;Sverdrup et al., 2017). In this context, circular economy is proposed to understand how resources can be used more efficiently (Figge et al., 2018;Korhonen et al., 2018). ...
... Although a certain amount of disparity exists between the trade values of CWS and CRM, CWS trade is playing an increasingly prominent role in alleviating the shortage of CRM. As mentioned in previous studies, the current copper ore reserves will be depleted in approximately 60 years (Harmsen et al., 2013;Sverdrup et al., 2017). Therefore, the development of a CWS recycling system by participating countries is an urgent task. ...
Article
Copper raw materials (CRM) and copper waste and scrap (CWS) are the two main sources of copper manufactured products. Due to the uneven geographical distribution of copper production and consumption, international CRM and CWS trade developed. However, no study has explored the complicated interdependencies between CRM trade and CWS trade or investigated the characteristics of this multiplex trade system. This study uses trade records from 1988 to 2017 to construct multiplex trade networks: a global CRM trade network and a global CWS trade network. The evolution of copper trade from 1988 to 2017 is reviewed, and the intricate relationships in the multiplex trade network are identified. It is found that CWS trade has a highly positive correlation with CRM trade, but there are obvious differences between CWS trade and CRM trade in the multilateral trade structure. Multilateral trade structures driven by core exporting countries and core importing countries are prominent in CRM trade and CWS trade, respectively. In addition, the impacts of China's restrictive policies on the multiplex trade system are analyzed. The results provide policy implications for countries regarding copper resource security strategies and safeguarding the multiplex trading system.
... In recent decades, ultrathin thin-film Cu (In 1-x Ga x ) Se 2 solar cell technologies exhibit high conversion efficiencies for low manufacturing cost, low material usage, material flexibility, and stability over longterm usage Frontier, 2019;Powalla et al., 2018;Sverdrup et al., 2017). The various approaches have been taken to improve efficiencies, such as optimized MgF 2 to be used as an anti-reflective coating, optimized Ga concentration in the CIGS absorber material, optimized the absorber, window, and buffer layer thicknesses (Frontier, 2019;Powalla et al., 2018). ...
... A CIGS thickness ranging between 2 and 3 μm is enough to assure light absorption. (Powalla et al., 2018;Sverdrup et al., 2017). Lightweight and ultra-thin flexible solar cells are particularly attractive to solar researchers and industries as they allow less materials to be used and thus reduce production time and cost. ...
... Lightweight and ultra-thin flexible solar cells are particularly attractive to solar researchers and industries as they allow less materials to be used and thus reduce production time and cost. (Sverdrup et al., 2017;British Geological Survey, Risk list, n.d.;Friedlmeier, 2015;Schleussner et al., 2011;Edoff et al., 2011;. However, lowering the thickness of the absorber layer below the micrometer scale may reduce the light absorption and limit the performance of the cell. ...
Article
We use Silvaco-TCAD tools to optimize ultrathin Cu (In1-xGax) Se2 solar cells with rear surface passivation. First of all, the single CIGS structure was performed and calibrated with the electrical and optical output of the experimental results. Based on the simulation and example results, considering the variety of carrier’s transport mechanism at the heterointerface CdS/CIGS shows a significant impact on cell performance. The proposed rear passivated ultrathin CIGS structure consists the following configuration: MgF2 (120 nm)/ZnO:Al (300 nm)/ZnO(100 nm)/CdS(50 nm)/CIGS(500 nm)/Al2O3/Ag/glass-substrate. The effect of the rear-passivated, absorber thickness (CIGS), and cell pitch on ultrathin CIGS cell performance is analyzed and studied under AM 1.5G, 1 sun illumination. This increases the model’s total implied photocurrent density from 21.1 to 29.1 mA/cm². The simulations show that the ultrathin CIGS cell efficiencies of up to 13% can be obtained. The results from these simulations are compared with the measured characteristics of the fabricated cell.
... Indium has been a recent target for sustainability due to its physical scarcity, high cost, and widespread use in growing applications of transparent electrodes, which are also in demand for photovoltaic panels and high efficiency windows (Hun et al., 2018). The average concentration of cobalt (0.14%) and indium (0.001%) in e-waste in 2018 is still lower than observed ore concentration (Sverdrup, Ragnarsdottir, & Koca, 2017) (5% and 0.005%, respectively, at the high end), but specific products contain these materials to a greater degree, particularly smartphones and tablets ( Figures S5 and S7 in the Supporting Information). These materials are potential future priorities for recycling, particularly to create domestic supply chains, as geographical concentration and fluctuating global commodity value of these metals may lead to economic uncertainty in the electronics industry. ...
... Gold content in the U.S. e-waste stream (0.005% in 2018, Figure 4) remains over ten times higher than its estimated ore concentration (Sverdrup et al., 2017) (0.0003%). Historically, global e-waste recycling has relied on the economic value of gold, which is typically recovered through PCB smelting. ...
... Department of Energy, 2011), recovery from e-waste may present an opportunity for domestic mineral security or a buffer in commodity price volatility, underscoring the importance of policy instruments, recycling technologies, and infrastructure that can effectively reclaim these resources from end-of-life electronics. (Sverdrup et al., 2017). For most materials except Pd, Ag, and Au, e-waste concentration is lower compared to typical concentration in their respective ores. ...
Article
Technological innovation has transformed the role of electronics in education, work, and society. However, rapid adoption and obsolescence of consumer electronics has also led to new concerns about resource consumption and waste management. Past research to address these sustainability challenges has been constrained by data that do not reflect nascent trends in product evolution and consumer adoption, thereby limiting the ability to create and assess proactive solutions. This study presents a dynamic analysis of electronic waste (e‐waste) in the United States using material flow analysis and highly resolved electronic product sales and material composition data. Findings contradict expectations that e‐waste is growing with mobile device proliferation, instead showing that the total mass of the e‐waste stream is actually declining (10% decrease since the estimated peak in 2015) with phase‐out of large, legacy products like cathode ray tube TVs. The evolving material profile of consumer electronics being purchased and disposed sees reduced risks of e‐waste toxicity from hazards like lead and mercury, but greater risks from reliance on scarce metals and product designs that limit recycling. This study highlights concerns that extended producer responsibility regulations currently implemented in many U.S. states for e‐waste management may become less effective if they continue to rely only on mass‐based collection targets. This article met the requirements for a gold‐gold JIE data openness badge described at http://jie.click/badges.
... In addition, using detailed and global scale mine data, several studies showed that primary production from natural ores could peak during the 21st century. Specifically, the estimated peak years (i.e., years when primary production peaks) are around 2041-91 for iron, 2084-2130 for aluminum, 2030-72 for copper, 2025-61 for zinc, 2018-2128 for lead, and 2030-33 for nickel (Ali et al., 2017;Calvo et al., 2017;Mohr et al., 2018;Northey et al., 2014;Sverdrup et al., 2017;H.U. 2015;Valero et al., 2018). ...
... Hubbert curve model (Calvo et al., 2017;Sverdrup et al., 2017Sverdrup et al., , 2015Valero et al., 2018) Scheduling model (Mohr et al., 2018(Mohr et al., , 2015Northey et al., 2014) System dynamics model (Sverdrup et al., 2017(Sverdrup et al., , 2015Vuuren et al., 1999) Linear programming model (Tokimatsu et al., 2017) Predator-prey model (Ali et al., 2017) T. Watari, et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 164 (2021) ...
... Hubbert curve model (Calvo et al., 2017;Sverdrup et al., 2017Sverdrup et al., , 2015Valero et al., 2018) Scheduling model (Mohr et al., 2018(Mohr et al., , 2015Northey et al., 2014) System dynamics model (Sverdrup et al., 2017(Sverdrup et al., , 2015Vuuren et al., 1999) Linear programming model (Tokimatsu et al., 2017) Predator-prey model (Ali et al., 2017) T. Watari, et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 164 (2021) ...
Article
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Sustainable metal supply requires well-coordinated strategy and policy packages based on a sound scientific understanding of anticipated long-term demand, supply, and associated environmental implications. Such information , however, is highly fragmented among various case studies. Accordingly, this extensive review explores the projected long-term status of six major metals-iron, aluminum, copper, zinc, lead, and nickel-with around 200 data points for global demand through 2030, 2050 and 2100. Our findings showed that global demand for these major metals is likely to increase continuously over the 21st century, increasing approximately 2-6-fold depending on the metal. Although the extraction and processing required to meet this increase in demand must be environmentally sustainable, the existing extraction and processing scenarios have few explicit linkages to the Earth's carrying capacity. We further found that strategy choices are heavily biased towards end-of-life phase analyses, specifically that of end-of-life recycling. Consequently, a full range of opportunities across entire life cycles is being overlooked, including advances in product design, manufacturing and in-use phases. Importantly, despite the emergence of numerous scenarios, few provide science-based targets for major metal flows, stock, circularity, and efficiency. These knowledge gaps need to be addressed urgently in order to ensure that future research directly supports science-based decision and policy making.
... Past studies have investigated supply chain risks and solutions at different levels and for different sectors and types of materials. Literature exists on geological scarcity (Achzet and Helbig, 2013;Henckens et al., 2016;Sverdrup et al., 2017), material criticality (Erdmann and Graedel, 2011;Graedel and Reck, 2016;Jin et al., 2016;Schrijvers et al., 2020;Sonnemann et al., 2015), price (Leader et al., 2019), environmental impacts of production (Lee and Wen, 2017;Nuss and Eckelman, 2014;Weng et al., 2016;Zaimes et al., 2015), and geopolitical risks (E. D. Gemechu et al., 2015;Helbig et al., 2016). ...
... Supply risks relate to the physical availability of a material according to both available resources and ability to obtain the material from those resources. Metrics such as reserves (Sonderegger et al., 2017), ore grade (Sverdrup et al., 2017), depletion index (Goe and Gaustad, 2014) and byproduct production (Nassar et al., 2016) are shown by literature to be factors in supply risk. Data described in this section were obtained from the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey, 2020) and from published literature and are summarized in the SI Table S2. ...
... • Ore concentration (OC) is estimated as the mass percentage of material content in its typical ore deposits, where lower concentrations reflect scarcer and/or dispersed materials that require more energy or cost to extract. Data were compiled from literature (Sverdrup et al. (2017) for all elements except REEs. In the case of REEs, data compiled by Vahidi et al. (2016) based on (Schüler et al., 2011) for the Bayan Obo mine in China were used. ...
Article
Electronic products are an essential part of modern society, but their importance has perhaps never been as palpable as when the COVID-19 pandemic forced almost every aspect of human interaction to go online. However, the pandemic also revealed that the supply chains that provide crucial raw materials for manufacturing electronics are increasingly vulnerable to social, geopolitical, and technical disruptions. These vulnerabilities are likely to escalate in the future, due to global health crises, natural disasters, and global political instability, all of which will be magnified by looming climate change impacts. This study investigates potential supply chain disruption risks in the electronics sector by applying metrics that capture supply, demand, socio-political, and environmental risks in a multi-criteria framework to almost 40 metals and minerals that provide critical functionality to electronic products. Results illustrate that the material risks varied with the potential nature of the disruption. For example, in scenarios where disruptions led to price volatility or weakening of environmental regulations, highest risks were observed for precious metals such as gold, rhodium, platinum, and palladium. On the other hand, in scenarios where disruptions led to supply pressures or geopolitical tensions, cobalt, gallium, and key rare earth elements exhibited the highest risks. These metals are characterized by energy-intense manufacturing and highly concentrated geographic production, suggesting that recycling and supply chain diversification may alleviate some of the identified risks. The analysis also considers trade-offs that may occur across social, economic, and environmental dimensions. For example, cobalt, a critical component in lithium-ion batteries, has significant social impacts due to production concentration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Shifting production to other regions may alleviate these risks but introduce new concerns about economic and environmental impacts.
... This law of nature indicates the possibility of a path to be adopted for preservation, since productive processes belonging to a closed system, in which there is no exchange with the external environment, it can achieve sustainability by the transformation of residues in by-products to other industrial processes. Thus, it follows from the law of the conservation of mass that, in identifying the emission of pollutants or residues into the environment, countermeasures must be sought to ensure that the consumption of raw materials does not lead to to depletion; hence, the practices of recycling and reuse are recommended (Sverdrup, Ragnarsdottir, & Koca, 2017). ...
... Usiminas has developed a practical application for one of the residues of its ore transformation process; previously, this residue was discarded as solid residue. The new destination for the material by Usiminas is in line with the approach outlined by Sverdrup et al. (2017), according to which companies must establish recycling and reuse practices in order to mitigate the environmental impacts resulting from their activities. The innovation process developed by Usiminas incorporates the mitigation of social and environmental problems, as proposed by Barbieri et al. (2010). ...
Article
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A atividade econômica da indústria gera benefícios, como crescimento econômico, e malefícios, como resíduos descartados no meio ambiente. A possibilidade de mitigar os malefícios da atividade industrial, por meio de inovações sustentáveis, posiciona-se como tema de interesse para a sociedade. Neste contexto, esta pesquisa analisa o escopo das inovações socioambientais que a siderurgia brasileira implementa para mitigar a geração de resíduos sólidos. O desenvolvimento da pesquisa foi baseado em um estudo de caso na Usiminas, uma das maiores siderúrgicas da América do Sul, utilizando técnicas de análise de documentos e entrevistas com representantes da empresa. Os dados indicam que, por meio de um grupo multidisciplinar, a empresa desenvolveu quatro produtos que utilizam a escória da produção de aço com oxigênio como insumo. Embora o produto seja patenteado e seu valor seja negociado, o modelo de negócios adotado foi projetado para contribuir com o município. Como contrapartida, o beneficiário municipal desenvolve projetos para proteger as fontes de água. Dessa forma, as inovações tecnológicas podem transformar o resíduo dos processos da indústria em produtos que beneficiam o meio ambiente e a sociedade.
... This law of nature indicates the possibility of a path to be adopted for preservation, since productive processes belonging to a closed system, in which there is no exchange with the external environment, it can achieve sustainability by the transformation of residues in by-products to other industrial processes. Thus, it follows from the law of the conservation of mass that, in identifying the emission of pollutants or residues into the environment, countermeasures must be sought to ensure that the consumption of raw materials does not lead to to depletion; hence, the practices of recycling and reuse are recommended (Sverdrup, Ragnarsdottir, & Koca, 2017). ...
... Usiminas has developed a practical application for one of the residues of its ore transformation process; previously, this residue was discarded as solid residue. The new destination for the material by Usiminas is in line with the approach outlined by Sverdrup et al. (2017), according to which companies must establish recycling and reuse practices in order to mitigate the environmental impacts resulting from their activities. The innovation process developed by Usiminas incorporates the mitigation of social and environmental problems, as proposed by Barbieri et al. (2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
The economic activity of the industry generates benefits, such as economic growth, and harm, such as waste discarded in the environment. The possibility of mitigating the harms of industrial activity, through sustainable innovations, is positioned as a topic of interest to society. In this context, this research analyzes the scope of socioenvironmental innovations that the Brazilian steel industry implements to mitigate the generation of solid waste. This research was based on a case study at Usiminas, one of the largest steelmakers in South America, using document analysis techniques and interviews with company representatives. The data indicate that through the performance of a multidisciplinary group the company developed four products that use the slag from the oxygen steelmaking as input. Although the product is patented, and its value is negotiated, the business model adopted was designed to contribute to the county. As a counterpart, the municipal beneficiary develops projects to protect water sources. In this way, technological innovations can transform the residue of the industry's processes into products that benefit the environment and society. Resumo A atividade econômica da indústria gera benefícios, como crescimento econômico, e malefícios, como resíduos descartados no meio ambiente. A possibilidade de mitigar os malefícios da atividade industrial, por meio de inovações sustentáveis, posiciona-se como tema de interesse para a sociedade. Neste contexto, esta pesquisa analisa o escopo das inovações socioambientais que a siderurgia brasileira implementa para mitigar a geração de resíduos sólidos. O desenvolvimento da pesquisa foi baseado em um estudo de caso na Usiminas, uma das maiores siderúrgicas da América do Sul, utilizando técnicas de análise de documentos e entrevistas com representantes da empresa. Os dados indicam que, por meio de um grupo multidisciplinar, a empresa desenvolveu quatro produtos que utilizam a escória da produção de aço com oxigênio como insumo. Embora o produto seja patenteado e seu valor seja negociado, o modelo de negócios adotado foi projetado para contribuir com o município. Como contrapartida, o beneficiário municipal desenvolve projetos para proteger as fontes de água. Dessa forma, as inovações tecnológicas podem transformar o resíduo dos processos da indústria em produtos que beneficiam o meio ambiente e a sociedade. Palavras-chave: Sustentabilidade, Acidente ambiental em Mariana, Educação ambiental, Inovação social e ambiental
... These evolutions are increasing the pressure on the global supply chains, which in turn contributes to risks of scarcity for various metals [2,3]. The extraction of metals from primary geological sources as well as recycling from end-of-use consumer goods have to adapt to meet this soaring demand [4,5]. ...
... High leaching rates were obtained (>90% for both metals). The color of the DES turned to blue after the leaching, which was attributed to the formation of the CoCl 4 2anion. Thus, leaching of the metals seems to occur via coordination with chloride from the ChCl HBA. ...
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Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) appeared recently as a new class of green designer solvents. The recovery of metals using hydrometallurgy is of major importance with the growth in metal demand. Several authors used these solvents for the hydrometallurgical recovery of metals from primary and secondary resources, and these studies are reviewed in the present work. Hydrophilic DESs can be used for the leaching of metals and have great potential to replace mineral acids, and even to reduce water consumption. Efficient and selective leaching of metals from minerals or wastes is feasible by using DESs. However, the kinetics of leaching as well as the physicochemical properties of DESs are still limiting their large-scale application. Electrochemical recovery from DES is also possible but deserves further investigation. Finally, the recovery of metals from aqueous solutions using hydrophobic DESs was studied in several works. For the solvent extraction of metals, hydrophobic DESs constitute credible alternative ionic liquids.
... Silver resources are mainly reported in countries such as Peru, Mexico, China, Poland and Chile [5]. Most of the production comes as a sub-product from refining copper, cadmium, and zinc [6]. Various rates of silver recycling can be found in literature between 30 % and up to 80 % [6]. ...
... Most of the production comes as a sub-product from refining copper, cadmium, and zinc [6]. Various rates of silver recycling can be found in literature between 30 % and up to 80 % [6]. The wide dispersion of sources, the recovery of the metal as a by-product from the extraction of lead-zinc, copper, gold, or copper-nickel deposits, and the increasing recycling make the supply risk not critical (6.2/10 according RSC, [5]). ...
Article
Full-text available
Magnetic chitosan microparticles (MC) are successfully functionalized by grafting two pyrimidine derivatives (bearing either trione, MC-PYO, or trithione groups, MC-PYS). The sorbents are characterized using SEM, TEM, BET, TGA, FTIR, titration, and elemental analysis. The study focuses on the comparison of the differential effects of functionalized groups on the sorption of silver. FTIR analysis shows the contributions of N-based, carbonyl, hydroxyl for silver binding onto MC-PYO, completed by sulfur contribution in the case of MC-PYS. Maximum sorption capacities at pH 6 reach 1.9 and 2.3 mmol Ag g⁻¹ for MC-PYO and MC-PYS, respectively. The Langmuir and the Sips equations fit sorption isotherms. The reactive groups affect the thermodynamic characteristics: endothermic for MC-PYS against exothermic for MC-PYO. The affinity of S-based soft ligand in MC-PYS for soft metals makes the sorbent selective for Ag(I). On the opposite hand, for MC-PYO the O-based functional groups readily bind hard metals (HSAB principle), involving less selective for silver recovery (from multi-component solutions). QSAR method (quantitative structure-activity relationships) allows correlating preferentially sorption properties with the covalent index. Nitric acid solutions (0.3 M) are highly efficient for total desorption of silver from metal-loaded sorbents, but soft enough to maintain remarkable sorption and desorption performances for at least five cycles. The sorbents are successfully applied to Ag(I) recovery from acidic leachate of waste photographic films: metal removal is enhanced at pH 5.2; MC-PYS is more efficient and selective than MC-PYO at pH 2.2.
... Scenario 1 adopts estimates of current recycling rates and Scenario 2 assumes that they will increase to 80%. a Recycling is the quantity recycled as a percent of the material in waste streams for products that have reached their end of life. Values from Ref. [55]. ...
... Conventional reserve estimates do not exist. The data is for known extractable amounts from Ref. [55] for 2012. Resources are (much) higher, e.g. ...
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This study examines the geopolitical role of 14 metals and metalloids needed for renewable energy technologies. The analysis focuses on three factors with potential geopolitical importance: the geographic concentration of resources, potential revenues of resources rich countries and the size of total global markets. The geographic concentration of most of the fourteen studied metals and metalloids will be higher than for oil. The only exceptions are tellurium, copper and silicon. The economic revenues as fraction of total economic throughput will be rather low for most of the countries studied. This will reduce the risk for a resource curse to emerge. The exceptions are the Democratic republic of Congo, Chile, Cuba, Madagascar and Zambia. The total economic value of the studied metals and metalloids will also be much smaller than the current oil market.
... This has led to cleaner and more efficient mobility systems than current ones being promoted from various institutions, including electric mobility. However, electrical mobility, a priori more environmentally friendly, has the associated problem that some of the materials present in several of the elements of this technology, such as electric motors and batteries, are critical elements [4], that is, can present problems of exhaustion in the near future [5], [6]. Several authors have pioneered attempts to draw attention to the problem of the depletion of mineral resources needed in the different technologies used to reduce GHG emissions and the use of fossil fuels in modern societies, such as photovoltaic technology or electric vehicles. ...
... Iron copper(kg/km) 10836 Finally, Table 6 lists the current reserves, resources [28], [29] and recycling situation [6], [30], [31] (stating their recycling ratios) of the main metals used in electrical mobility. Recycling ratios come from UNEP [30], except lithium, which come from Melin [31]. ...
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Today, we are witnesses to the early days of a change in the mobility technology as oil reserves decline and society's environmental awareness increases. Electric technologies are intended to replace those based on hydrocarbons as they have been initially conceived as more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. However, the problem of the future availability of the materials required for this change has arisen. A large demand for this type of mobility could contribute to the depletion of these resources, leading to major problems for the manufacture of vehicles and all other technologies that use these materials if we do not find alternatives that allow us not to deplete these natural resources. These alternatives may involve not only a change in the materials used in electric vehicles but also the use of different modes of transport. To help us estimate which materials related to the transition in the transport sector might be most critical in the future globally, the MEDEAS system dynamics simulation model will be used. Once the simulations on different scenarios have been run, we observe how aluminium, copper, cobalt, lithium, manganese and nickel have such a high demand that would practically cause the exhaustion of their reserves in several scenarios, so we will propose alternative measures to try to avoid their exhaustion due to the use of this type of mobility. Keywords: Transport modes, mineral resources, system dynamics, lithium-ion batteries.
... An ISRIC/UNEP study from the 1990s estimated that 22 million hectares may be affected globally by soil pollution (Bridges et al., 1992) but more recent data indicate that this number probably underestimates the scale of the problem (Rodríguez-Eugenio et al., 2018). A number of sources exist and although soil pollution usually originates from anthropogenic processes, for some pollutants geogenic sources such as weathering and volcanic eruptions can be as important as anthropogenic sources in terms of risks to human health (van der Voet et al., 2013;Sverdrup et al., 2017;McLaughlin, 2018). The terms "soil contamination" and "soil pollution" are frequently used interchangeably but the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) (FAO, 2015) make the following distinction: soil contamination is when the concentration of a chemical or substance is higher than would occur naturally but is not necessarily causing harm while soil pollution refers to the presence of a chemical or substance out of place and/or present at a higher than normal concentration that has adverse effects on any non-targeted organism (FAO, 2015;Rodríguez-Eugenio et al., 2018). ...
Article
Innumerable private households and small-scale producers currently operate on polluted soils. Phytoremediation is one of the most cost-effective remediation options but as a stand-alone technology, it is often not lucrative enough to make it appealing for farmers, especially in economically vulnerable regions. Economic incentives are crucial for remediation projects to materialise and synergies can be obtained by integrating phytoremediation with other profitable activities including food production. This review aims to synthesise state-of-the-art scientific data to provide a general understanding of opportunities and risks for sustainable remediation of agricultural soil by the use of combined phytoremediation and food production (CPFP). The results show that strategies based on CPFP may be appropriate options for most pollutants in virtually all climatic or socioeconomic contexts but a number of challenges need to be surpassed. The challenges include remediation-technological issues such as undeveloped post-harvest technology and inadequate soil governance. The need for remediation solutions for polluted fields is increasingly urgent since many farmers currently operate on polluted land and the scarcity of soil resources as the human population continuously increases will inevitably force more farmers to cultivate in contaminated areas. We conclude that, although large scale CPFP has not yet reached technological maturity, appropriate combinations of soil types, plant species/cultivars, and agronomic practices together with thorough monitoring of the pollutants’ pathways can potentially allow for safe food production on polluted soil that restricts the transfer of a number of pollutants to the food chain while the soil pool of pollutants is gradually reduced.
... Nickel-metal-hydride (Ni-MH) and lithiumion batteries (LiBs) contain such metals as Co, Cu, Fe, Li, Mn, Ni, Pb, V [7,8], and rare earth elements (REE, mostly La, Ce, Sm, Nd, and Pr) [8]. Sverdrup et al. [9] estimated that different scrap metals will become a major source of Fe, Al, and Cu in the next 30 years. Among the main elements used in batteries, cobalt is considered as element with the highest supply risk. ...
Article
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Recycling of metals from different waste streams must be increased in the near future for securing the availability of metals that are critical for high-tech applications, such as batteries for e-mobility. Black copper smelting is a flexible recycling route for many different types of scrap, including Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and some end-of-life energy storage materials. Fundamental thermodynamic data about the behavior of battery metals and the effect of slag additives is required for providing data necessary for process development, control, and optimization. The goal of our study is to investigate the suitability of black copper smelting process for recycling of battery metals lithium, cobalt, manganese, and lanthanum. The experiments were performed alumina crucibles at 1300 °C, in oxygen partial pressure range of 10−11‒10−8 atm. The slags studied contained 0 to 6 wt% of MgO. Electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) techniques were utilized for phase composition quantifications. The results reveal that most cobalt can be recovered into the copper alloy in extremely reducing process conditions, whereas lithium, manganese, and lanthanum deport predominantly in the slag at all investigated oxygen partial pressures.
... The assumptions on current recycling rates are taken from Sverdrup et al. [46]. In order to show what effects an ambitious recycling strategy has on the primary material demand, we assume a target EOL-RR of 80% in 2050 for all metals. ...
Article
We assess the requirements for neodymium, dysprosium, lithium, and cobalt in power generation, storage and transport technologies until 2050 under six global energy scenarios. We consider plausible developments in the subtechnology markets for lithium-ion batteries, wind power, and electric motors for road transport. Moreover, we include the uncertainties regarding the specific material content of these subtechnologies and the reserve and resource estimates. Furthermore, we consider the development of the material demand in non-energy sectors. The results show that the material requirements increase with the degree of ambition of the scenarios. The maximum annual primary material demand of the scenarios exceeds current extraction volumes by a factor of 3 to 9 (Nd), 7 to 35 (Dy), 12 to 143 (Li), and 2 to 22 (Co). The ratios of cumulative primary material demand to average reserve estimates range from 0.1 to 0.3 (Nd), 0.3 to 1.1 (Dy), 0.7 to 6.5 (Li), and 0.8 to 5.5 (Co). Average resource estimates of Li and Co are exceeded by up to a factor of 2.1 and 1.7, respectively. We recommend that future scenario studies on the energy system transformation consider the influence of possible material bottlenecks on technology prices and substitution technology options.
... Soil pollution in developing countries comes from a number of sources. Often these are derived from anthropogenic processes, but also geogenic sources such as weathering and volcanic eruptions can be as important as anthropogenic sources in terms of risks to human health [9][10][11]. Large-scale application of persistent pesticides is one prominent source of pollution in developing countries, that has affected large areas of land historically [1,3,12] and in most countries in the Global South, inadequate applications of pesticides is an ongoing process that continues to pollute large areas of soil. ...
... Non-ferrous metals, as an important resource for modern manufacturing, play a crucial role in social-economic development (Sverdrup et al., 2017). However, the scarcity of mineral resources has attracted worldwide attention with rapid industrialization (Giurco et al., 2014;Graedel et al., 2015). ...
Article
To reduce the excessive consumption of metal minerals and boost the development of the circular economy, scrap metals are increasingly recycled across the world. Due to the geographically uneven distribution of scrap metals, most countries are actively participating in the international scrap metal trade. This study collects international trade records on scrap metals from 1988 to 2017 and constructs the annual global scrap metals trade network (GSMTN) to analyze the characteristics and dynamic evolution of the scrap metal trade. The results reveal a globalization trend of the scrap metal trade, the scale-free characteristics of the trade network, and the increasing monopolization of the export market. The international scrap metal trade has experienced a dynamic evolution in the past 30 years and has developed into a complex system with a hierarchical structure that is led by a few core countries. Three relatively stable groups are the main players in the international scrap metal trade: East Asia-America-Oceania, Europe, and South Asia-Middle East. A review of the split and merger process of these communities clearly shows that geopolitics and economic turbulence are important elements in the fragmentation and integration of trade communities. The findings will enable governments to understand the complex trade relationships involved in scrap metals, which can help policy-makers propose effective import-export policies and ensure national resource security.
... Due to this characteristic, this metal is indispensable in numerous alloys and stainlesssteel manufacturing (Considine, 2005); a usage that reaches more than 80% of its total production (U.S. Geological Survey, 2016). Moreover, studies have projected that there will be future shortage of molybdenum in the future (Marafi and Stanislaus, 2003;UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), 2008;Rankin, 2011;Sverdrup et al., 2017;Vemic et al., 2017). Thus, there is an ever-growing urgency to recover this metal. ...
Article
Molybdenum, a precious metal with important roles in industries, is projected to experience future shortage. Despite this, there is still no practical recycling process of this metal and around 25 thousand tons of molybdenum are discharged into wastewater annually. Biorecovery is a promising approach to resolve the above problem because of its high selectivity, high sensitivity, low running cost and low environmental burden. A bacterial molybdenum binding protein ModE has been constructed into yeast cells and named as ScBp5. In this study, the potential of genetic engineered yeast for recovering molybdenum from wastewater was further investigated. In order to stabilize the expression of ModE, strain ScBp5 was further modified by replacing promoter upstream of modE to generate ScBp6. The improvement of molybdenum adsorption efficiency by ScBp6 was confirmed especially in low concentration. The molybdenum isotherms parameters of ScBp6 was analyzed. To enable the usage as biorecovery agent in industrial settings, ScBp6 cells were immobilized using calcium alginate matrix, and the optimum immobilization conditions for ScBp6 were determined as 2% matrix density, 4 h of immobilization time, and 10 mg/ml cell density. The investigation of molybdenum adsorption kinetics by immobilized ScBp6 cells showed this adsorption was an efficient chemisorption. Overall, this research demonstrate the efficiency of immobilized yeast cell in molybdenum recovery.
... Metals, with the exception of the most abundant ones such as aluminum, iron, magnesium and titanium, can be considered as geochemically scarce with average concentrations below 0.1% of the continental crust (Skinner, 1979). Thus, physical scarcity of non-renewable resources, at some point in the future, is a concern, although there is great variety in its perceived immanency and seriousness Drielsma et al., 2016;Sverdrup et al., 2017;Tilton, 2003). In sum, metals can be considered as scarce for various reasons. ...
Article
Circular measures such as long-life designs, reuse, repair and recycling have been suggested for prolonging scarce metal life cycles and reducing the dependence on primary resources. This paper explores to what extent circular measures could mitigate metals scarcity when adopted to complex products. Based on three real cases, the effect of extending the use of laptops, smartphones and LED systems before recycling are assessed for between 7 and 15 scarce metals using material flow analysis. As expected, benefits can be gained from such extensions, but, importantly, differ substantially between metals since they occur in various components with various service lifetimes and functional recycling rates vary. Notably, risks of flipping the ranking in favor of short use before recycling are identified: if service lifetimes are short, designs are metal-intensive or if metal contents differ between products. Furthermore, regardless of measure, sizable and varying losses of each metal from functional use occur since all products are not collected for recycling and all metals are not functionally recycled. Thus, neither use extension measures nor recycling can alone nor in combination radically mitigate metals scarcity and criticality currently. Overall, it is a challenge to target the multitude of scarce and critical metals applied in complex products through circular measures. Careful analysis beyond simplified guidelines such as "R frameworks" are recommended. As the importance of scarce metals availability and the attention to the circular economy are expected to continue, these insights may be used for avoiding efforts with unclear or minor benefits or even drawbacks.
... The demand for these secondary products also depends on government intervention. Even though the government has purchasing power with regards to secondary products, lack of cooperation and communication hinder positive government intervention on the manufacturing of secondary products (Sverdrup et al., 2017;Tennakoon et al., 2021). Likewise, Yu et al. (2017) further stressed that the complexity of the demolition process and the lack of rigorous implementation of regulations in the recycling process have failed to enable effective decision-making. ...
Purpose: Reverse Logistics Supply Chain (RLSC) for demolition waste management is a complex process that inherits significant interdependent risks. However, studies on RLSC have not explicitly identified the risks of its inter-relationships by disentangling their effects on operational performance. Accordingly, this paper aims to identify and assess the inter dependencies of the risks in RLSC, to improve quality-related operational performance. Design/Methodology/Approach: A sequential exploratory mixed-method research approach, consisting of qualitative and quantitative methods was employed. The qualitative approach involved 25 semi-structured interviews, whereas the 18 subsequent structured interviews were conducted with stakeholders in the entire RLSC as part of the quantitative method. These used to identify the cause-and-effect relationships of the identified risks. The data was analysed using thematic analysis and the Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) technique was used to develop a conceptual risk model. Findings: 20 risks in four RLSC sub-processes, namely, dismantling, and on-site process, off-site resource recovery process, marketing of secondary products and residue disposal emerged. Among cause-and-effect relationships of identified risk factors, inferior quality of secondary products were found to have the strongest relationship with customer satisfaction. Under-pricing of dismantling job, improper landfill operations, and inadequacy of landfill levy are independent risks that initiate other risks down the supply chain. The aggregate effects of these risks affect customer dissatisfaction of the end-product, as well as health and safety risks in on-site, off-site and residue disposal. Research Limitations/Implications: This study only identify the cause-and-effect relationships of the identified risks within RLSC for demolition waste management operations for DWM. It has not been targeted a specific construction material or any secondary production, which could be practiced through a case study in future research Practical Implications: The results encourage the investigation of RLSC process quality by maintaining the relationship between recycler and customer to enable a safe workplace environment. Hence, the role of relevant practitioners and government are inseparable in supporting decision-making. Future research could discuss the impact of those interrelated risks in relation to time- or cost-related operational performance criteria. Originality/Value: This study contributes to the field through presenting the first major study on the identification and assessment of the inter dependencies of the risks in RLSC in South Australia. The RLSC process mapping had been identified as a tactical and operational management approach. However, the risk management process is a strategic management approach. Therefore, the integration of both process mapping and the risk management approaches in one platform is germane to construction management research.
... Studies that apply criticality methodologies tend to identify solutions based on risks identified on the user side of the supply chain, for example, the dematerialization of consumption or the reduction of dissipative uses. 39, 40 Graedel's methodology captures the environmental impacts of supplying metals, however, these impacts are not localized, as they are generated throughout the supply chain. By design, criticality methodologies do not consider source factors that affect mineral resource extraction, as do availability studies. ...
Article
Rising consumer demand is driving concerns around the ‘availability’ and ‘criticality’ of metals. Methodologies have emerged to assess the risks related to global metal supply. None have specifically examined the initial supply source – the mine site where primary ore is extracted. Environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) risks are critical to the development of new mining projects and the conversion of resources to mine production. In this paper, we offer a methodology that assesses the inherent complexities surrounding extractives projects. It includes 8 ESG risk categories that overlay the locations of undeveloped iron, copper and aluminium orebodies that will be critical to future supply. The percentage of global reserves and resources that are located in complex ESG contexts (i.e. with four or more concurrent medium-to-high risks) is 47% for iron, 63% for copper, and 88% for aluminium. This work contributes to research by providing a more complete understanding of source level constraints and risks to supply.
... Considering the fast growth of global demands of LIBs, end-of-life (EOL) LIBs are most likely to become important secondary sources for various materials in the future. For example, a recent study estimates that various scrap metals will become the main sources for iron, aluminum, and copper within the next 30 years [14]. A summary of global availability of the main raw materials in advanced LIBs is given in Table 2. ...
Article
Lithium ion batteries (LIBs) are an essential energy-storage device for a majority of advanced electronics used in our everyday lives, from cell phones and laptops, to medical devices and electric vehicles. Despite their continued widespread adoption, methods to recycle and reuse end-of-life (EOL) LIB materials are still under active development. In the first part of this two-part review on LIB recycling, we review current commercial scale processes in practice for recycling or reusing EOL LIB components. Future waste projections estimate 4 million tons of cumulative EOL EV battery modules by 2030, which is above the current global recycling capacity. All of the processes in use today utilize a combination of pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical or mechanical and hydrometallurgical processing to recover mainly cobalt and nickel and copper, while other components are disposed as waste unless further processed. In this review, we highlight the need for recycling LIB material components based on resource availability and the current processes in practice to recover and recycle LIBs.
... Dasgupta and Heal (1979), Krautkraemer and others (1998), Tilton (2003), Simpson, Toman, and Ayres (2005), and Tilton (2018) are recent economic treatments of resource availability. Largely physical perspectives on resource availability include Ragnarsdottir (2008), Henckens, Driessen, andWorrell (2014), Northey, Mohr, Mudd, Weng, andGiurco (2014), Calvo, Valero, and Valero (2017), and Sverdrup, Ragnarsdottir, and Koca (2017). There is a large and diverse literature in econometrics on metal prices. ...
Article
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Scientists typically use physical indicators, such as average crustal abundance, and energy requirements in production, as measures of the availability of mineral resources. Economists, on the other hand, typically rely on measures such as prices, and extraction costs. This study investigates the role of crustal abundance, energy requirements, and other physical indicators in determining relative metal prices. The relationship between prices, and physical indicators is estimated statistically for a sample of 22 chemical elements over the period 1970–2013 using an economic market model. The results suggest that energy requirements in production explain 43% of observed variation in metal prices, crustal abundance 21%, and other physical indicators (toxicity, native metal status, and melting point) combine to explain 12% of the observed differences in metal prices.
... These large scale increases in final demand for minerals needs to be considered in the context of uncertainty over the scale of unexploited resources for some of these minerals. For example, Sverdrup et al, (2017) use an integrated WORLD and Hubbert's model to assess the future supply for a range of metals, highlighting that demand for most metals is predicted to peak within the next 40 years, especially for copper, zinc and nickel -all crucial to the low-carbon transition. Mudd & Jowitt (2018) on the other hand present a more optimistic picture for reserves, highlighting strong growth in the known mineral resources -discussing that the key factors governing the availability of resources are social, environmental and economic rather than geological or physical resource depletion. ...
Article
The circular economy is a widely discussed topic in the field of Eco-industrial initiatives and environmentally responsive economies. The current economic and industrial model which is termed as the produce-use-dispose model is a linear model in which the resources are lost forever after their utilization; a waste of resources as well as money. In addition to economic impact, it creates immense pressure on the environment while disposing of the waste products. For this reason, scholars are trying to find an effective solution to this problem by ensuring the re-utilization of resources. The economic concept of the circular economy ensures the recycling and utilization of resources and closes the resource loop. In a world of reducing and often scarce natural resources, the recycling and utilization of resources increase the opportunities for economic growth-this is especially important given the rising demand for natural resources in emerging economies-exacerbated by the low-carbon transition. This study encompasses these ideas and explores the barriers, drivers and triggers of the circular economy transition for the mining industry. In this paper, authors review several circular economy initiatives taken by mining industries. The paper aims to demonstrate some common themes across three big mining companies with the help of content analysis; and evaluates the identified barriers, drivers and triggers of these circular economy initiatives. The authors argue that the mining industry might capitalize on the learning of other industries in relation to CE, enabling timely advancement of circular economy initiatives.
... CIGS is a well-known material with good optical properties [3]. Therefore, the CIGS thickness range of 2-3 lm is still being used for sufficient light absorption [3][4][5][6]. Lightweight and ultrathin flexible solar cell devices are particularly attractive in the markets which use fewer materials and hence reduce production time with lower-cost labor [6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]. ...
Article
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This paper presents an investigation of ultrathin Cu (In1−xGax) Se2 solar cell which was calibrated from the fabricated cell using Silvaco-TCAD tools. Carrier transport mechanism and conduction band alignment at the CdS/CIGS interface shows a large influence on PV parameters. The influence of the absorber trap density on the electrical characteristics of the single junction cell was investigated under AM 1.5G one-sun (100 mW/cm2) illumination. Further simulations quantify significant improvements in cell efficiency while using a thin Al2O3 material as a rear passivation layer. In addition, the impact of the backside pitch size, opening width, absorber layer doping, and thickness on cell performance is investigated to enhance the cell efficiency. To evaluate our work, the electrical characteristics of the optimized cell were compared to the fabricated cells.
... Iron, aluminium and copper are not only the main metals required in the electricity sector; they are also considered the most important metals for the infrastructures of modern societies (Sverdrup et al., 2017). Although the global peak production of these metals is estimated to occur within the next two or three decades (ibid.), ...
Article
Full-text available
Transforming and expanding the electricity sector are key for climate change mitigation and alleviation of energy poverty. Future energy systems based on renewable energy sources may reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but could require more materials during construction. We assess this trade-off by quantifying the requirements of the main bulk materials used in electricity infrastructures for 281 global electricity sector pathways until 2050. We identify main determinants for material requirements and gauge the relevance of socio-economic framework conditions and climate change mitigation regimes. Five selected, highly diverse scenarios are analysed in detail by quantifying their respective annual material stocks and flows, and cumulative GHG emissions to 2050. We find robust evidence that scenarios in line with the 1.5 °C target are associated with significantly higher material requirements than scenarios exceeding a global temperature rise of 2 °C. Material stocks in 2050 differ by up to 30% for copper, 100% for concrete, 150% for iron/steel and 260% for aluminium (3rd quartiles of Monte Carlo simulations), even when the particularly material-intensive “Below 1.5 °C″ scenarios are excluded. Although power plants account for the largest part of the material requirements, grid expansion and reinforcement, necessary to accommodate large shares of volatile power generation and provide universal access to electricity, also cause substantial material demand. In the absence of future GHG mitigation in the processing industries, GHG emissions related to bulk materials (primarily iron/steel and aluminium) could amount to one tenth of the remaining carbon budget for a 50% chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. However, if preference is given to material-efficient technologies, low-carbon processes are applied in the industries and increased material recycling is achieved, GHG emissions related to bulk materials in decarbonisation pathways will not significantly exceed those in largely fossil fuel-based scenarios.
... Lead-antimony alloys have also several applications, such as in corrosion-resistant pumps and pipes, roofing sheets, solder, and cables [33,141,142]. In addition to some above-mentioned applications, bismuth is used in cosmetics and in the pharmaceutical industry [143,144]. Bi-Sb alloys are also used as semiconductors in electronics [145]. The widespread use of antimony and bismuth and the growing concerns regarding their scarcity point to the need to recover these metals in the copper electrorefining stage. ...
Article
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The mining industry has faced significant challenges to maintaining copper production technically, economically, and environmentally viable. Some of the major limitations that must be overcome in the coming years are the copper ore grade decline due to its intense exploitation, the increasing requirements for environmental protection, and the need to expand and construct new tailings dams. Furthermore, the risk of a supply crisis of critical metals, such as antimony and bismuth, has prompted efforts to increase their extraction from secondary resources in copper production. Therefore, improving conventional processes and developing new technologies is crucial to satisfying the world’s metal demands, while respecting the policies of environmental organizations. Hence, it is essential that the chemical composition of each copper production stage is known for conducting these studies, which may be challenging due to the huge variability of concentration data concerning the ore extraction region, the process type, and the operational conditions. This paper presents a review of chemical composition data of the main stages of copper production from sulfide minerals, such as (1) copper minerals, (2) flotation tailings, (3) flotation concentrates, (4) slags and (5) flue dust from the smelting/converting stage, (6) copper anodes, (7) anode slimes, (8) contaminated electrolytes from the electrorefining stage, (9) electrolytes cleaned by ion-exchange resins, and (10) elution solutions from the resins. In addition, the main contributions of recent works on copper production are summarized herein. This study is focused on production sites from Chile since it is responsible for almost one-third of the world’s copper production.
... There is a real risk due to metal scarcity and to the impact of exploration of these metals involving geopolitical risk and human rights abuse [29]. Therefore, recycling and the technical loops are strategies to ensure resource availability over time [30]. The social factor analysis considered the improvements to reduce the ergonomic risks. ...
Article
Full-text available
Product-Service System (PSS) is a sustainable strategy that shifts the focus of the business from selling physical products to providing service by using the product. The innovation proposed in the PSS, focused on sustainable production and consumption, is consistent with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The scientific literature on PSS in machining showed studies that address the economic factor of PSS contract, machine maintenance and logistics and operational process improvement. Then, there is a lack of studies on the assessment of the PSS in machining under a sustainability factors perspective. Thus, the objective of this paper was to evaluate the economic, environmental, and social advantages of PSS cutting tools in machining. Consistent with this aim, the research focused on a case study in a diesel engine parts machining company. From an economic point of view, the results indicated a reduction in operating costs of US$ 1,206,080 per year, which allowed a nine-month return on investment. From an ecological perspective , the recovery of 602 kg of carbide per year mitigated the environmental impact of tungsten and cobalt exploration. These results are even more expressive because it deals with scarce metals. Furthermore, technological advances reduced the risk of injury to operators. This research increased knowledge on PSS in machining by presenting an original study that led the analysis under a sustainability perspective. Moreover, this study contributes to managers by showing the business model's advantages that reduce operating costs and socio-environmental impacts, enhancing sustainable development.
... The main issue of nanotechnology is the handling nanowaste materials after reusing them, since they are particles with extremely small sizes, which make them difficult to monitor and track. Meanwhile, because this technology is a very recent topic, there is not enough knowledge about their waste treatment and the implications for the environment [18,19]. Environmental issues with nanowaste are getting worse compared to bulk materials as a result of various classifications, such as synthetic and natural, inorganic and organic, spheres and clusters, wires, nanofibers, plates, and thin films. ...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the potential usage of recycled nanomaterials in industrial applications and explains scalable technologies for the recovery of nanomaterials from composite systems. Relevant regulations for waste management are also described to follow the standards and achieve the authorization of recycled nanomaterials. This chapter addresses the approaches to cost-effective material separation, recycling, and recovery and assesses environmental sustainability. In addition, this chapter contributes to the circular economy movement by promoting sustainable development by utilizing sustainable materials (waste nanomaterials) and adopting environmentally friendly production processes. Recovery of nanomaterials from the selected matrix, which can be polymers or biobased systems, can be achieved by developing new protocols and methodologies such as electroplating, thermal treatments, upcycling, and selective recovery processes. Therefore current research developments related to nanomaterials recycling for industrial applications are elaborated by providing specific examples from different fields and considering environmental issues.
... The relative scarcity of literature on this topic is opposed to other more mainstream metals whose ESG coverage is high, e.g., Co (van den Brink et al., 2020, Chen et al., 2020, Fu et al., 2020, Rare earth elements (Weng et al., 2016, Arshi et al., 2018, Fe (Nuss et al., 2014), Au (Andrews andEssah, 2020, Gifford et al., 2010), and Cu, Pb and Zn (Seck et al., 2020, Liu et al., 2020, Mudd et al., 2017, Sverdrup et al., 2017. The lack of studies into Ti and Zr contrasts markedly with minerals related to battery storage and green energy production, where numerous studies exist (Sun et al., 2019, Sterba et al., 2019, Kowasch, 2018, Prior et al., 2013 including a number of commercial enterprises which have launched their own research offerings and commissioned studies (Roskill, 2020, BMW, 2020. ...
Article
The growing focus on environmental responsibility from the community, investors and regulators presents immense challenges and opportunities to mining companies. Titanium and zirconium minerals are vital, unrecyclable, and often irreplaceable components of modern infrastructure and technology. The companies which supply these minerals often have a long-history of sustainability reporting. Such reports have been used here to analyse energy usage, carbon dioxide emissions and water usage from mining and processing these minerals. Mining operations and titanium-slag producers in Australia, Canada, China, Mozambique, Madagascar, Norway, and South Africa were analysed. This paper presents both site-specific data as well as data generalized to heavy mineral sand (HMS) deposits vs igneous hard-rock style deposits, as well as those products which have undergone beneficiation. In terms of averages, energy use was higher for HMS (yearly average of between 0.90 – 2.95 GJ/t valuable heavy mineral (VHM)) compared to ilmenite-dominant hard-rock mining (yearly average of between 0.21 – 0.49 GJ/t ilmenite) and Ti-slag production required between ∼10 – 14 GJ/t of saleable product (including titanium slag and pig-iron). Emissions from ilmenite-dominant hard rock mining produced ∼0.01 t CO2e/t ilmenite concentrate while HMS mining produced 0.07-0.38 t CO2e/t of VHM; emissions from beneficiating ilmenite into Ti-slag add significantly to this (0.62-1.21 t CO2e/t of saleable product, weighted by value). Overall, hard-rock mining operations consumed <5 kL/t ilmenite concentrate while HMS consumed 10-26 kL/t VHM. On the other hand, beneficiating hard-rock ilmenite into slag increases water-use by ∼220 kL/t of saleable product. Finally, in terms of land use, it was determined that an average of 4.3 ha per 1 Mt of ore was disturbed in HMS operations (no data was available for hard-rock operations). While average results comparing HMS, hard-rock and beneficiated products were broadly comparable to existing LCA literature, data used in LCA literature is not consistent with specific sites and using generalized data to infer site-specific data will often lead to erroneous estimates. These observations taken together are particularly important to downstream purchasers, as well as the investment community who do not fund entire industries, but fund and back specific projects; the decision made on which site or company to invest in is increasingly determined by environmental, social and governance (ESG) related factors. This paper not only provides quantitative indications of these factors for Ti/Zr production, but also guidance for improving sustainability reporting in the industry. An improvement in the quality, quantity and consistency in this data, as this paper explains, will allow for greater information to guide investment and ESG outcomes for Ti/Zr industries.
... While methods for recycling selenium from waste, including from CIGS solar cells [e.g., 88], do exist, there is no widespread recovery of selenium from old scrap [87]. Risk in the supply chain of selenium comes from the nature of the extraction, whereby production is highly dependent on copper production, along with its low geological abundance in Earth's crust [89]. In a comparison of the supply risk of critical metals, Graedel et al. (2015) [34] found that while selenium had low environmental risk, the overall supply risk was very high. ...
Article
The Paris Agreement set a goal of limiting the Earth’s average temperature increase in order to reduce the threat of climate change. Fundamental to achieving this goal will be a large global increase in renewable energy generation and storage capabilities, particularly photovoltaic cells, wind turbines, batteries, and fuel cells. However, an often overlooked aspect of a large scale shift to renewable technologies is the increasing demand this creates for the mineral resources used in their manufacture. Some of these minerals have high-risk supply chains that threaten their production, resulting from various economic, social, geopolitical and geological factors. These important and high risk minerals are known as critical minerals. Many of these critical minerals are abundant in extraterrestrial bodies, and the possibility of extracting resources from in space is now closer to reality than ever. With the potential to avoid many of the risks associated with their supply on Earth, combined with the current push towards renewable energy; an evaluation of extraterrestrial bodies as a resource to meet the demand for critical minerals is timely. A set of eight critical minerals/mineral groups used in the manufacture of renewable energy technologies were identified in this study through an extensive literature review: lithium, gallium, selenium, silver, indium, tellurium, rare earth elements, and platinum. The potential of extraterrestrial bodies, namely the Moon and near-Earth asteroids, as a source of these critical minerals is investigated. We find that asteroids are likely to provide an important source of platinum, selenium, and gallium, and to a lesser extent, of silver, indium and tellurium. The case for extracting lithium and the rare earth elements from extraterrestrial bodies is less compelling. It is clear from this study that a reduction in the environmental and social impacts of producing these critical minerals is necessary. A strategy to extract minerals from extraterrestrial bodies would be a valuable step in achieving this.
Chapter
The extraction rate of some raw materials is relatively high in comparison with the economically exploitable amounts in the Earth’s crust. Within a period of a century or so, these materials may become difficult to afford for future generations, unless timely measures are taken to keep these materials also available for future generations. The price mechanism of the free market may not react timely enough to future geological scarcity. The free market price mechanism reacts to today’s and tomorrow’s developments but does not necessarily take account of the interests of future generations, which are still at least decades ahead. To overcome this limitation of the market, mineral resources governance and policy need to be designed, agreed upon and implemented at a global scale. We analyze and assess eleven different policy instruments for achieving a more sustainable use of eight scarce raw materials.
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The signature of international commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the COP21 Paris Agreement in 2015 demonstrates a current favourable policy context to address environmental issues. These engagements have been endorsed by the European Union (EU) which also launched complementary strategies such as the one on Circular Economy. Doing so, the EU promotes a transition towards a sustainable, low carbon and circular economy where innovation plays a key role. To monitor progress towards such models, the paper proposes an analysis of the 2014 edition of Eurostat’s Community Innovation Survey (CIS) and more precisely its module on “innovations with environmental benefits”. The dataset allows to understand the performance of companies in eco-innovation and to identify the factors leading to innovation with environmental benefits. The CIS data shows that environmental concerns are becoming a significant component of innovation at large in enterprises’ strategies. It also demonstrates that a significant number of European firms (almost 25%) have introduced new products, processes, marketing or organisational innovations with environmental benefits between 2012 and 2014.The main factors leading to such eco-innovations include enterprise's reputation, reducing costs of inputs, and environmental regulation, while surprisingly a factor like market demand is not statistically significant. The paper defends that circular models generate an environmental, economic and social value for companies and the entire society. But it also suggests that enterprises are followers in the transition towards a sustainable economy, the process being led by other actors like public authorities and an active part of the civil society. Despite some caveats, the CIS’ microeconomic data allow identifying the most efficient policy instruments to promote the transition towards a sustainable, circular and low-carbon economy and society.
Conference Paper
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The energy-materials nexus becomes increasingly important given economic growth and the need for new technologies to build a low carbon system. Various challenges such as resource depletion, grade declines, market imbalances, demand shocks and uncertainty can threaten the supply of some materials and metals required for the low carbon technologies, and thereby slow down the low carbon transition. Such risks can affect the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This paper examines the implications of the energy-material nexus on sustainable development and develops a framework identifying the trade-offs and synergies in key domains impacted by decisions on materials and energy. Findings show that linkages can be established with all SDGs, showing the importance of assessing material requirements not only for the energy sector, but also for all sectors of the economy. Therefore, there is a call for multidisciplinary research on the risks and challenges related to the energy-material nexus and on the development of solutions to overcome the barriers to implementing a sustainable energy system.
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In ultra-thin chalcopyrite solar cells and photovoltaic modules, efficient light management is required to increase the photocurrent and to gain in conversion efficiency. In this work we employ optical modelling to investigate different optical approaches and quantify their potential improvements in the short-circuit current density of Cu(In, Ga)Se 2 (CIGS)devices. For structures with an ultra-thin (500 nm)CIGS absorber, we study the improvements related to the introduction of (i)highly reflective metal back reflectors, (ii)internal nano-textures applied to the substrate and (iii)external micro-textures by using a light management foil. In the analysis we use CIGS devices in a PV module configuration, thus, solar cell structure including encapsulation and front glass. A thin Al 2 O 3 layer was considered in the structure at the rear side of CIGS for passivation and diffusion barrier for metal reflectors. We show that not any individual aforementioned approach is sufficient to compensate for the short circuit drop related to ultra-thin absorber, but a combination of a highly reflective back contact and textures (internal or external)is needed to obtain and also exceed the short-circuit current density of a thick (1800 nm)CIGS absorber.
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In diesem Open-Access-Buch kritisiert Philipp Schäfer die Entwicklung der Circular Economy hin zu einem Selbstzweck. Um den Beitrag der Circular Economy zu einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung zu gewährleisten, muss sie stets Mittel zum Zweck sein und bedarf daher konkreter Zielsetzungen. Anhand eines ausführlichen Exkurses in die Fachliteratur zeigt der Autor, dass das primäre Ziel der Circular Economy keineswegs durch das Narrativ der schwindenden Ressourcen bestimmt werden sollte. Vielmehr sollte das Ziel die Minderung des Energieaufwands der Rohstoffbereitstellung und der damit verbundenen Treibhausgasemissionen sein. Anhand konkreter empirischer Beispiele zeigt der Autor auf, dass diese konzeptionelle Zielausrichtung zwingend notwendig ist, damit der Beitrag der Circular Economy zum Klimaschutz und damit zu einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung sichergestellt werden kann. Der Autor Philipp Schäfer hat an der Hochschule Pforzheim Ressourceneffizienzmanagement (B.Sc.) und Life Cycle and Sustainability (M.Sc.) studiert. Von 2017 bis 2020 hat er am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie mit Unterstützung der Landesgraduiertenförderung Baden-Württemberg promoviert. Derzeit ist er als Postdoc am Institut for Industrial Ecology der Hochschule Pforzheim tätig. Seine Forschungs- und Arbeitsschwerpunkte liegen in den Bereichen Life Cycle Assessment, Circular Economy und Ressourceneffizienz.
Chapter
A mineral resource is exhausted if further extraction of that resource is no longer profitable due to financial, environmental, energetic, climate change, waste generation, water use, or social impact factors, or a combination of these. This does not mean that the mineral is depleted in an absolute sense, and a large amount may still be available in the Earth's crust. Based on two different economic growth scenarios, we explore how long 36 elements and groups of elements will remain available for humanity. This depends on the availability of a resource in the Earth's crust and the annual extraction rate. A material may be relatively abundant in an absolute sense, but relatively scarce in an economic sense because the annual extraction rate is high. The opposite can also be true: a raw material may be rare in the Earth's crust but not scarce because the annual extraction rate is low.
Article
Amid present concerns over a potential scarcity of critical elements and raw materials that are essential for modern technology, including those for low-carbon energy production, a survey of the present situation, and how it may unfold both in the immediate and the longer term, appears warranted. For elements such as indium, current recycling rates are woefully low, and although a far more effective recycling programme is necessary for most materials, it is likely that a full-scale inauguration of a global renewable energy system will require substitution of many scarcer elements by more Earth-abundant material alternatives. Currently, however, it is fossil fuels that are needed to process them, and many putative Earth-abundant material technologies are insufficiently close to the level of commercial viability required to begin to supplant their fossil fuel equivalents. As part of a significant expansion of renewable energy production, it will be necessary to recycle elements from wind turbines and solar panels (especially thin-film cells). The interconnected nature of particular materials, for example, cadmium, gallium, germanium, indium and tellurium, all mainly being recovered from the production of zinc, aluminium and copper, and helium from natural gas, means that the availability of such ‘hitchhiker’ elements is a function of the reserve size and production rate of the primary (or ‘attractor’) material. Even for those elements that are relatively abundant on Earth, limitations in their production rates/supply may well be experienced on a timescale of decades, and so a more efficient (reduced) use of them, coupled with effective collection and recycling strategies, should be embarked upon urgently.
Chapter
The applications of ILs in the preparation and recovery of several inorganic and hybrid materials are promising. ILs can be generally applied for several materials, such as metals, nonmetal elements, silicas, metal oxides, chalcogenides, and porous materials. ILs offer high recyclability and can be cost-effective after optimization, making them attractive and receiving a growing number of scientists. ILs can be considered green solvents. The methods that implement ILs are sustainable and could be effective in comparison to conventional methods. Future research will explore the synthesis of cheap ILs, making use of cost-effective methods.
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The Canadian Arctic is a complex and fragile region which is currently experiencing unprecedented environmental degradation due to climate change. The effects of climate change on the Canadian Arctic is just one example where we’re seeing the decline of ecosystems and socio-culture-environmental traditions. Mineral development in this already fragile ecosystem is indeed a contentious and high-risk endeavour. However, mining is currently one of the few industries and economic development opportunities in the Canadian Arctic, which is one of the poorest regions in Canada. Unfortunately, mining struggles to achieve environmental sustainability due to mineral development’s inherent trade-off of short-term economic gains for long-term environmental impacts. Local communities are usually left with trying to find this balance. This paper analyzes how we can apply decision-making techniques and environmental management tools for the Canadian Arctic’s mining industry to promote better environmental sustainability, understanding of environmental-economic trade-offs, and community involvement. Specific decision-making methodologies and management tools are analyzed to develop, discuss, and explore their application for the Canadian Arctic. This paper concludes with a framework that brings together the analyzed methods and Arctic specificities; to prioritize environmental issues and to ensure long-term thriving communities in the Arctic.
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The metal industry consumes large amounts of energy and contributes significantly, up to 10%, to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Recycling is commonly included among the most viable options for mitigating the climate forcing of metal production by replacing primary production. However, the recycling rates of metals are still incomplete and, in particular, do not exist for most specialty metals. Our empirical analysis of 48 metals shows that their recycling is mainly impeded by their low concentrations. In many cases, the metal concentration in end-of-life products is lower than that in natural ores. This phenomenon inevitably raises the question of the extent to which recycling can be conducted without losing its mitigating effects on climate change. We answer this question for two example metals, tantalum and copper, within the scope of Germany, a leader in recycling. For tantalum, the results show that a further increase in the end-of-life recycling rate (EOL-RR) could contribute to minimizing the overall energy consumption and GHG emissions, despite its low concentrations in end-of-life products. The energy requirements for recycling copper from end-of-life products already reach the magnitude of those for primary production. A further increase in EOL-RR must be examined in detail to ensure mitigating effects on climate change.
Article
The direct sulfur fixation and reduction roasting of antimony sulfide (Sb2S3) were investigated for antimony extraction, based on the combination of metallurgy and beneficiation. Zinc oxide (ZnO) and carbon, used as the sulfur-fixing agent and reductant, respectively, were roasted with Sb2S3 to form Sb metal and zinc sulfide (ZnS). The products were separated by gravity separation and flotation. The predominance-area diagrams of Sb-Zn-S-O indicated that Sb2S3 could be transformed into Sb directly. The equilibrium composition simulation indicated that sulfur was completely fixed in the form of ZnS. The in-situ X-ray diffraction and TG–MS analysis of the Sb2S3-ZnO-C system indicated that the roasting process was initially conducted as a sulfur-fixing reaction to generate antimony oxide (Sb2O3) and ZnS; thereafter, the Sb2O3 was reduced to metallic antimony. The optimum conditions for Sb2S3 conversion were determined as follows: temperature of 800 °C, carbon particles of 150–200 mesh, WZnO/Wtheory = 1.0 (where W represents weight), and a time period of 2 h, where the Sb generation and sulfur-fixing rate reached 90.44% and 94.86%, respectively. The gravity and flotation separation method generated the recovery rates of 87.32% and 92.04% for Sb and ZnS, respectively. Compared with the current process, this new method will significantly facilitate the reduction of energy cost and SO2 emissions.
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Hybrid halide perovskites have taken over the world of new generation photovoltaics (PVs) since their first implementation just a decade ago, thanks to their efficiency comparable to commercial solutions, ease of fabrication, flexibility and versatility. Despite their outstanding performances, the presence of lead represents a severe concern for their future commercialisation, due to its toxicity and associated risks to human health and its environmental impact. Lead-free perovskites offer a potential avenue to circumvent the problem. However, parameters such as material abundance, toxicity and environmental impact of potential lead-substituents are too often neglected. In this review, we put forward a different perspective, focusing on concepts such as cost, availability, sustainability and eco-friendliness required to justify the large-scale use of lead alternatives in the PV industry. Furthermore, comparative case studies with technologies based on lead-containing materials such as lead zirconate titanate, Pb(ZrxTi1−x)O3, also known as PZT, and CdTe solar panels are provided. Finally, it is argued that the advantages of using lead in photovoltaic panels – when including proper encapsulation and recycling – outweigh the risks associated with its manufacturing.
Chapter
Nanotechnology-based industries are projected to grow from a multimillion-dollar industry to a few billions of dollars in the next few decades. The rate of nanotechnology production is very high as per global market scenario. With increasing penetration of nanomaterials (NMs) in our daily lives through consumer products, nanowastes and nanobyproducts are bound to circulate in the environment and our surroundings. These include the byproducts generated from nanotechnology processed products. This chapter discusses the various NMs or nanostructured byproducts and the nanowaste that is generated by various industries. Nanoparticles that are released into the atmosphere are contemplate as different categories of waste when compared to their bulk counterpart. NMs recycling offers many benefits in both environmental and economic terms. NMs can be recycled from both new and pure products (from nanomanufacturing) and used products (nanowaste from nanointegrated products). This chapter discusses various processes of nanobyproduct generation and utilization that will be part of the evolution toward green technology.
Article
Clean energy technologies are emerging as a major contributor to the total energy supply. Some metals play irreplaceable roles in these technologies. The supply risk of metals used in clean energy technologies is gradually increasing. Hence, it is necessary to investigate the supply risks of these metals worldwide. In this study, a comprehensive assessment is conducted to quantify the supply risks of critical metals. The production of the metals is imbalanced worldwide. China, Russia, the United States, Canada, and Australia dominate the supply of these metals. China has the largest supply risk, and the main risk contribution is linked to mining governance and policy, which suggests that strengthening government regulations is necessary. The supply risks in the United States, Russia, and Canada are moderate, and most risks are associated with geologic availability and recycling restrictions. Al, Cu, Fe, Pb and Ag displayed high risks linked to geologic availability and recycling restrictions. Pd, B, Sb, W, Re, Ge and Ga exhibited high risks related to mining governance and policy and environmental sustainability. Difficult exploration processes and highly sensitivity market supplies increased the supply risk. This study provides an important reference for the strategic application of the metals in clean energy technologies in the future.
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Environmental reporting as part of Corporate Social Responsibility reporting (CSR) is one of the governance tools increasingly used by companies to measure, analyse and communicate on their ecological information. The rules and standards governing their environmental reporting are in constant evolution. They provide a framework for companies to consider non financial aspects as business opportunities and consequently to integrate them into their strategic management via virtuous practices, which make possible the creation of value in a range of forms such as economic and financial, intellectual and productive as well as social and environmental. However, as a genuine communication tool which is published and made available to external stakeholders, environmental reporting may also contain “greenwashed” information. The objective of this paper is to analyse the environmental reporting of French companies quoted on the CAC 40 and to assess the meaningfulness of their published information. The results of the study show that companies have developed a range of practices to improve their environmental performance as shown in their reporting. Some can be classified as practices aiming at internalising environmental externalities, while others lead to a phenomenon of "externalisation" of those externalities (e.g. sub-contracting or rental). It demonstrates the need to make the standards more precise, both in terms of the scope and even the objectives of reporting. This would involve developing a natural capital and ecosystem services accounting system. This article also reviews the different initiatives to integrate the value of nature in the accounting systems of both businesses (micro level) and countries (macro level) and their possible interlinkages.
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This Report is the first in a series of reports on decoupling to be published by the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management. It aims at scoping the challenges of decoupling. On material flows, the Report gives quantitative assessments at a global scale, at national levels, classified into the four major categories of primary raw materials: construction minerals, ores and industrial minerals, fossil fuel carriers, and biomass. Globally, the extraction of raw materials is estimated to be between 47 and 59 billion metric tons (Gt) per year, with a clear tendency of further massive increases. Over one century, the use of construction materials grew roughly 34 fold, that of ores 27 fold, while biomass use, dominating material flows in the first half of the last century, increased only 3.6 fold. The Report proceeds to delineate three different trajectories of resource consumption until 2050, assuming in all three cases that the populations of all countries will change according to the UN projections (medium variant). (1) A business-as-usual scenario assumes for developed countries a continuation of the decoupling as observed in the past and rising levels of resource consumption in all other countries to the level of the developed countries by 2050. Not surprisingly, this would lead to a tripling of global annual resource extraction and consumption, as poorer countries catch up with the consumption patterns of the rich. The planetary environmental impacts would be unbearably high. (2) A moderate contraction and convergence scenario assumes absolute reductions for the industrial countries to a consumption per capita of half of the rates for the year 2000 (contraction), while all other countries catch up to this (reduced) level by 2050 (convergence). For developing countries, this implies decoupling. Despite the structural changes in the dominant production and consumption patterns implied by this trajectory, it leads to a roughly 40% increase in annual global resource use and associated impacts. (3) A tough contraction and convergence scenario simulates a pathway towards keeping global primary resource extraction at the current level. This implies even more reduction in resource use for industrial countries and much stronger decoupling for developing countries. It is the only trajectory that in terms of fossil fuel consumption and related CO2 emissions complies with the climate protection targets set by the IPCC.
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The process of modelling needs great care and must be followed systematically. A route from mental model, via Causal Loop Diagrams to structural models is suggested. Modelling software is suggested as a useful help. Models are nothing but pictures of our understanding and must be treated as such. Mistakes made in modelling inevitably go back to faulty understanding, and revision of the understanding is more important than calibrating this away. Model choice is highly specific of the questions asked, and as questions are many, so are the models needed to answer them. Therefore no specific biogeochemical model can be recommended before any other. The choice depends on the combination of questions asked and the data available for driving potential models. Most questions have no models ready for them, and the reader is urged to develop his own specific models, and take great care in communicating these. Often an existing bio-geochemical model can be used as point of departure, and either adapted for the new purpose or used as an inspiration for a new model. The best biogeochemical model to use is the one that answers the question in an adequate way with the smallest amount of time and money.
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tThe authors have collected data for the silver market, shedding light on market size, stocks in society andsilver flows in society. The world supply from mining, depletion of the remaining reserves, reducing oregrades, market price and turnover of silver was simulated using the SILVER model developed for this study.The model combines mining, trade markets, price mechanisms, populations dynamics, use in society andwaste and recycling into an integrated system. At the same time the degree of sustainability and resourcetime horizon was estimated using different methods such as: 1: burn-off rates, 2: peak discovery earlywarning, 3: Hubbert’s production model, and 4: System dynamic modelling. The Hubbert’s model wasrun for the period of 6000 BC–3000 AD, the SILVER system dynamics model was run for the time range1840–2340. We have estimated that the ultimately recoverable reserves of silver are in the range 2.7–3.1million tonne silver at present, of which approximately 1.35–1.46 million tonne have already been mined.The timing estimate range for peak silver production is narrow, in the range 2027–2038, with the bestestimate in 2034. By 2240, all silver mines will be nearly empty and exhausted. The outputs from allmodels converge to emphasize the importance of consistent recycling and the avoidance of irreversiblelosses to make society more sustainable with respect to silver market supply.
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The concept of “peak oil” has been explored and debated extensively within the literature. However there has been comparatively little research examining the concept of “peak minerals”, particularly in-depth analyses for individual metals. This paper presents scenarios for mined copper production based upon a detailed assessment of global copper resources and historic mine production. Scenarios for production from major copper deposit types and from individual countries or regions were developed using the Geologic Resources Supply-Demand Model (GeRS-DeMo). These scenarios were extended using cumulative grade-tonnage data, derived from our resource database, to produce estimates of potential rates of copper ore grade decline. The scenarios indicate that there are sufficient identified copper resources to grow mined copper production for at least the next twenty years. The future rate of ore grade decline may be less than has historically been the case, as mined grades are approaching the average resource grade and there is still significant copper endowment in high grade ore bodies. Despite increasing demand for copper as the developing world experiences economic growth, the economic and environmental impacts associated with increased production rates and declining ore grades (particularly those relating to energy consumption, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions) will present barriers to the continued expansion of the industry. For these reasons peak mined copper production may well be realised during this century.
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The Limits to Growth standard run scenario produced 40 years ago continues to align well with historical data that has been updated in this paper, following a 30-year comparison by the author. The scenario results in collapse of the global economy and environment, and subsequently the population. Although the modelled fall in population occurs after about 2030 – with death rates reversing contemporary trends and rising from 2020 onward – the general onset of collapse first appears at about 2015 when per capita industrial output begins a sharp decline. Given this imminent timing, a further issue this paper raises is whether the current economic difficulties of the global finan cial crisis are potentially related to mechanisms of breakdown in the Limits to Growth standard run scenario. In particular, contemporary peak oil issues and analysis of net energy, or energy return on (energy) invested, support the Limits to Growth modelling of resource constraints underlying the collapse, despite obvious financial problems associated with debt.
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Global aluminum consumption has exhibited significant growth in recent years, due to its useful properties. As this will result in a large amount of aluminum accumulation as urban mines, the exploitation of these urban stocks will be an important issue in the future. To examine the recycling potential of urban stocks, a dynamic material flow analysis on aluminum was conducted focusing on Japan, the United States, Europe and China. The concentrations of the alloying elements were also investigated, since carryover of alloying elements during recycling results in off-specification secondary metals and alloys. The recycling of aluminum scrap was optimized from the results of dynamic material flow analysis using multi-material pinch analysis. It was estimated that Japan, the United States, Europe and China have the potential to reduce their primary aluminum consumption to 60%, 65%, 30% and 85% of their present levels, respectively. In 2050, it is estimated that 11400 kt of primary aluminum will be required among the four countries, while 12400 kt of obsolete scrap will not be able to be recycled due to high concentrations of alloying elements.
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Aluminum demand in Japan has grown significantly during the last few decades. For most uses, small amounts of other metals are added to the primary aluminum to make harder alloys, which are classified by the nature and concentrations of their alloying elements. Aluminum scraps from end-of-life products, which are used as raw materials for secondary aluminum, are often mixtures of several alloys. Therefore, not only the amount of scrap but also the concentrations of their alloying elements must be taken into account when assessing the maximum recycle rate of aluminum scraps. This paper reports a dynamic substance flow analysis of aluminum and its alloying elements in Japan, focusing on the alloying elements Si, Fe, Cu and Mn. We devised eight categories of aluminum end uses and 16 types of aluminum alloys. The amount of each alloy in each end-use category was estimated from statistical data. We then estimated future quantities of discarded aluminum in each of the eight categories using the population balance model. At the same time, we calculated the concentrations of the alloying elements in each of the end uses. It was estimated that the amount of aluminum recovered in Japan would be about 1800 kt in 2050, which is 2.12 times that recovered in 1990. Calculated concentrations of alloying elements in aluminum scraps showed good correlation with those of the measured data.
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The supply of some natural resources is unlikely to keep pace with the increasing demands of a growing population. New technologies must be based on abundant materials if we are to achieve sustainable development.
Article
Dynamic stocks and flows analysis was applied to the anthropogenic aluminum cycle in Italy in order to detect and quantify metal flows and in-use stocks over the years 1947-2009. The model utilized a top-down approach, including data for production, consumption, loss, and trade flows of aluminum. Seven end-use markets were considered, namely buildings and construction, transportation, consumer durables, machinery and equipment, electrical engineering, containers and packaging, and miscellaneous appliance types. The results of this dynamic stocks and flows analysis model quantified the contemporary anthropogenic reservoirs (or in-use stocks) of aluminum at about 320 kg per capita, mainly embedded within the transportation and building and construction sectors. Cumulative in-use stock represents approximately 11 years of supply at current usage rates (about 20 Mt versus 1.7 Mt/year), implying significant potential for recycling in the future as this stock comes out of use. Flow analysis revealed that Italy imports mainly unwrought aluminum and exports final products, while the main material losses occur during alumina refining and collection of old scrap: specifically, containers and packaging have the highest old scrap generation rate, but for the lowest recovery rate (50%). Increasing support to collection of scrap and initiatives oriented to aluminum recovery specifically would allow Italy to increase its reliance on domestic material, and may also allow a decline of the country import-dependence on primary sources. The dynamic stocks and flows model created here provides a quantitative historical record of the aluminum required by Italian society during important periods of development and provides guidance for future decision-making around the use of domestic secondary resources.
Article
This paper analyses the anthropogenic stocks and flows of aluminum in mainland China from 1950 to 2009 using time-series data for mining, production, fabrication, manufacturing, trade, and loss rates, and applies a dynamic top-down method to model scrap generation. Results show that growth rates of all flows increased from decade to decade, with 75% of most of the flows taking place in the last two decades. Of the 230 Tg aluminum entering China's anthroposphere, only 34% accumulates in in-use stock, and China's per-capita in-use stock (58 kg) in 2009 is 12% of the per-capita in-use stock in 2006 in the United States (490 kg). In addition, the share of secondary aluminum in the production of unwrought aluminum was less than 25% after 2000. These results imply that China's in-use stock of aluminum is still too “young” and small to generate high quantities of aluminum scrap for domestic secondary aluminum production. Because of this, China still depends mainly upon primary aluminum. From the 1980s to the period of 1990 to 2009, China changed from a net exporter of raw materials into a net importer and from a net importer of manufactured products into a net exporter. In 2009, China's static depletion time of bauxite was less than 15 years. Given the potential to increase its in-use stock, a secure supply of bauxite may become a challenge for China in the near future. Three dynamics driving China's rapid increase of primary aluminum production (PAP) were identified, and their impacts from 1991 to 2009 were quantified. The first, demand for aluminum by domestic in-use stock, was the most significant factor driving China's PAP increase. The second dynamic, China's net export of aluminum in the metallic form, became an important factor in stimulating PAP's increase in the 2000s. Lastly, the impact of losses to the environment in the metallic form on PAP is substantial and stays that way throughout time. Minimizing losses represents an opportunity to offset some demand.
Book
The easy mineral resources, the least expensive to extract and process, have been mostly exploited and depleted. There are plenty of minerals left to extract, but at higher costs and with increasing difficulties. The effects of depletion take different forms and one may be the economic crisis that is gripping the world system. And depletion is not the only problem. Mining has a dark side—pollution—that takes many forms and delivers many consequences, including climate change. The world we have been accustomed to, so far, was based on cheap mineral resources and on the ability of the ecosystem to absorb pollution without generating damage to human beings. Both conditions are rapidly disappearing. Having thoroughly plundered planet Earth, we are entering a new world.
Article
Industrial assets or fixed capital stocks are at the core of the transition to a low-carbon economy. They represent substantial accumulations of capital, bulk materials, and critical metals. Their lifetime determines the potential for material recycling and how fast they can be replaced by new, more efficient facilities. Their efficiency determines the coupling between useful output and energy and material throughput. A sound understanding of the economic and physical properties of fixed capital stocks is essential to anticipating the long-term environmental and economic consequences of the new energy future. We identify substantial overlap in the way stocks are modeled in national accounting, dynamic material flow analysis, dynamic input-output (I/O) analysis, and life cycle assessment (LCA) and we merge these concepts into a common framework for modeling fixed capital stocks. We demonstrate the usefulness of the framework for simultaneous accounting of capital and material stocks and for consequential LCA. We apply the framework to design a demand-driven dynamic I/O model with dynamic capital stocks, and we synthesize both the marginal and attributional matrix of technical coefficients (A-matrix) from detailed process inventories of fixed assets of different age cohorts and technologies. The stock modeling framework allows researchers to identify and exploit synergies between different model families under the umbrella of socioeconomic metabolism.
Article
Light-weighting of passenger cars using high-strength steel or aluminum is a common emissions mitigation strategy. We provide a first estimate of the global impact of light-weighting by material substitution on GHG emissions from passenger cars and the steel and aluminum industries until 2050. We develop a dynamic stock model of the global car fleet and combine it with a dynamic MFA of the associated steel, aluminum, and energy supply industries. We propose four scenarios for substitution of conventional steel with high-strength steel and aluminum at different rates over the period 2015-2050. We show that light-weighting of passenger cars can become a 'gigaton solution': Between 2015 and 2050, persistent light-weighting of passenger cars can, under optimal conditions, lead to cumulative GHG emissions savings of 9-18 gigatons CO2-eq. compared to development business-as-usual. Annual savings can be up to 1 gigaton per year. After 2030, enhanced material recycling can lead to further reductions: closed-loop metal recycling in the automotive sector may reduce cumulative emissions by another 4-6 gigatons CO2-eq. The effectiveness of emissions mitigation by material substitution significantly depends on how the recycling system evolves. At present, policies focusing on tailpipe emissions and life cycle assessments of individual cars do not consider this important effect.
Article
The world supply and turnover of copper was modelled using simple empirical estimates and a COPPER systems dynamics model developed for this study. The model combines mining, trade markets, price mechanisms, population dynamics, use in society and waste as well as recycling, into a whole world system. The degree of sustainability and resource time horizon was estimated using four different methods including (1) burn-off rates, (2) peak discovery early warning, (3) Hubbert's production model, and (4) COPPER, a system dynamics model. The ultimately recoverable reserves (URR) have been estimated using different sources that converge around 2800 million tonne, where about 800 million tonne have already been mined, and 2000 million tonne remain. The different methods independently suggest peak copper mine production in the near future. The model was run for a longer period to cover all systems dynamics and delays. The peak production estimates are in a narrow window in time, from 2031 to 2042, with the best model estimate in 2034, or 21 years from the date of writing. In a longer perspective, taking into account price and recycling, the supply of copper to society is estimated to run out sometime after 2400. The outputs from all models put focus on the importance of copper recycling so that society can become more sustainable with respect to copper supply.
Article
Aluminum recycling currently occurs in a cascading fashion, where some alloys, used in a limited number of applications, absorb most of the end-of-life scrap. An expected increase in scrap supply in coming decades necessitates restructuring of the aluminum cycle to open up new recycling paths for alloys and avoid a potential scrap surplus. This paper explores various interventions in end of life management and recycling of automotive aluminum, using a dynamic substance flow analysis model of aluminum and its alloying elements with resolution on component and alloy level (vehicle-component-alloy-element model). It was found that increased component dismantling before vehicle shredding can be an effective, so far underestimated, intervention in the medium term, especially if combined with development of safety-relevant components such as wheels from secondary material. In the long term, automatic alloy sorting technologies are most likely required, but could at the same time reduce the need for magnesium removal in refining. Cooperation between the primary and secondary aluminum industries, the automotive industry and end-of-life vehicle dismantlers is therefore essential to ensure continued recycling of automotive aluminum and its alloying elements.
Article
A dynamic analysis of anthropogenic aluminum stocks and flows in the U.S. from 1900 to 2009 has been conducted. Key findings include (1) historical cumulative aluminum input into the U.S. anthroposphere amounts to 438 Tg, with only about 35% of it accumulating in domestic in-use stock; (2) less than 5% of most flows take place before 1950, while more than 50% of them happen after 1990; (3) flows into fabrication, manufacturing, and use processes, as well as trade flows, are vulnerable to energy crises; basically, after an energy crisis, the U.S. tends to produce less primary aluminum, less semis, as well as less final products, and therefore import less bauxite and alumina but import more unwrought aluminum and final products; (4) the U.S. has been a net importer of aluminum from the life cycle perspective, with its total annual net import increasing from 1945 to 2005; (5) as a result of the continuous increase of net import, total domestic stock of aluminum in the U.S. dramatically increases in the period of 1945–2009 and amounts to 316 Tg in 2009, about nine times of that in 1900; (6) in-use stock comprises about 48% of total domestic stock in 2009 and is dominated by two sectors, Buildings and Construction (32%) and Transportation (35%); (7) total per-capita stock in use of aluminum keeps increasing until 2009 and currently amounts to 490 kg; (8) per-capita stock of aluminum in Transportation sector increases substantially after 1990s because of the light-weighting of automobiles, while that in the Buildings and Construction and Electrical Engineering sectors seems have reached a saturation level after 2005.
Article
Industrialization and urbanization in the developing world have boosted steel demand during the recent two decades. Reliable estimates on how much steel is required for high economic development are necessary to better understand the future challenges for employment, resource management, capacity planning, and climate change mitigation within the steel sector. During their use phase, steel-containing products provide service to people, and the size of the in-use stock of steel can serve as an indicator of the total service level. We apply dynamic material flow analysis to estimate in-use stocks of steel in about 200 countries and identify patterns of how stocks evolve over time. Three different models of the steel cycle are applied and a full uncertainty analysis is conducted to obtain reliable stock estimates for the period 1700–2008.Per capita in-use stocks in countries with a long industrial history, e.g., the U.S, the UK, or Germany, are between 11 and 16 tons, and stock accumulation is slowing down or has come to a halt. Stocks in countries that industrialized rather recently, such as South Korea or Portugal, are between 6 and 10 tons per capita and grow fast. In several countries, per capita in-use stocks of steel have saturated or are close to saturation. We identify the range of saturation to be 13 ± 2 tons for the total per capita stock, which includes 10 ± 2 tons for construction, 1.3 ± 0.5 tons for machinery, 1.5 ± 0.7 tons for transportation, and 0.6 ± 0.2 tons for appliances and containers. The time series for the stocks and the saturation levels can be used to estimate future steel production and scrap supply.
Article
Material cycles have become increasingly coupled and interconnected in a globalizing era. While material flow analysis (MFA) has been widely used to characterize stocks and flows along technological life cycle within a specific geographical area, trade networks among individual cycles have remained largely unexplored. Here we developed a trade-linked multilevel MFA model to map the contemporary global journey of anthropogenic aluminum. We demonstrate that the anthropogenic aluminum cycle depends substantially on international trade of aluminum in all forms and becomes highly interconnected in nature. While the Southern hemisphere is the main primary resource supplier, aluminum production and consumption concentrate in the Northern hemisphere, where we also find the largest potential for recycling. The more developed countries tend to have a substantial and increasing presence throughout the stages after bauxite refining and possess highly consumption-based cycles, thus maintaining advantages both economically and environmentally. A small group of countries play a key role in the global redistribution of aluminum and in the connectivity of the network, which may render some countries vulnerable to supply disruption. The model provides potential insights to inform government and industry policies in resource criticality, supply chain security, value chain management, and cross-boundary environmental impacts mitigation.
Article
According to industry statistics, the U.S. passed the peak in its rate of oil discovery about 1956, and the peak in its proved reserves at about the end of 1960. During the post-war period from 1945 to 1956, the number of new- field wildcat wells required to make one profitable oil or gas discovery increased from 26 to 52--a 50% reduction in the effectiveness of exploration efforts. The history of petroleum geology began with formulations of the anticlinal accumulation of oil by 3 different geologists as early as 1861--within 18 mo. after the Drake discovery. During the next half century this basic idea underwent many vicissitudes, because oil was found in a great variety of structural positions. The period of 1910-1935, which can be regarded as the ''Golden Age'' of petroleum geology, was a period of fundamental and provocative inquiry into basic questions of origin, migration, and entrapment of oil and gas. Then followed a period of stagnation based on the illusion that the answers to fundamental problems were known. As a consequence, the practice of petroleum geology degenerated into deadening routines of putting rock geometry on maps, and drilling the geometric highs. (45 refs.)
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A systems dynamics model was developed to assess the planetary boundary for P supply in relation to use by human society. It is concluded that present day use rates and poor recycling rates of P are unsustainable at timescales beyond 100+a. The predictions made suggest that P will become a scarce and expensive material in the future. The study shows clearly that market mechanisms alone will not be able to secure an efficient use before a large part of the resource will have been allowed to dissipate into the natural environment. It is suggested that population size management and effective recycling measures must be planned long term to avoid unpleasant consequences of hunger and necessary corrections imposed on society by mass balance and thermodynamics.
Article
Forecasts up to 2050 are made of consumption of the following metals: Fe, At, Cu, Mn, Zn, Cr, Ph, Ni, Si, Sn, rare earths, Me, Li, Sb, W, Ag, Co, In, An, Ga, Pt and Pd. The forecasts are based on the linear decoupling model of the relation between per capita metal consumption and per capita GDP. The models of each metal are applied to the economic development model of BRICs and G6 countries. According to these forecasts, the overall consumption of metals in 2050 will be five times greater than the current levels, and demand for metals, such as Au, Ag, Cu, Ni, Sn, Zn, Ph and Sb, is expected to be several times greater than the amount of their respective reserves. Demand for Fe and Pt, which is considered to be optimistic about the resource exhaustion, will also exceed the current reserves. Urgent measures are needed to find alternatives from common resources and to shift into sound materials circulation society.
Article
A comprehensive annual cycle for stocks and flows of zinc, based on data from circa 1994 and incorporating information on extraction, processing, fabrication, use, discard, recycling, and landfilling, was carried out at three discrete governmental unit levels—54 countries and 1 country group (which together comprise essentially all global anthropogenic zinc stocks and flows), nine world regions, and the planet as a whole. All of these cycles are available in an electronic supplement to this article, which thus provides a metadata set on zinc flows for the use of industrial ecology researchers. A “best estimate” global zinc cycle was constructed to resolve aggregation discrepancies. Among the most interesting results are the following: (1) The accumulation ratio, that is, addition to in-use stock as a function of zinc entering use, is positive and large (2/3 of zinc entering use is added to stock) (country, regional, and global levels); (2) secondary input ratios (fractions of input to fabrication that are from recycled zinc) and domestic recycling percentages (fractions of discarded zinc that are recycled) differ among regions by as much as a factor of six (regional level); (3) worldwide, about 40% of the zinc that was discarded in various forms was recovered and reused or recycled (global level); (4) zinc cycles can usefully be characterized by a set of ratios, including, notably, the utilization efficiency (the ratio of manufacturing waste to manufacturing output: 0.090) and the prompt scrap ratio (new scrap as a fraction of manufacturing input: 0.070) (global level). Because capturable discards are a significant fraction of primary zinc inputs, if a larger proportion of discards were recaptured, extraction requirements would decrease significantly (global level). The results provide a framework for complementary studies in resource stocks, industrial resource utilization, energy consumption, waste management, industrial economics, and environmental impacts.
Article
This paper dynamically analyzes the Japanese material flow of stainless steel. The substance flow analysis of Cr and Ni associated with stainless steel was conducted by classifying the material flow of stainless steel into two main alloy types: ferritic and austenitic. The substance flow covered more than 80% of Cr and Ni consumption in Japan. In mass balances of Cr and Ni, the production of not only stainless steel but also other alloying steels containing Cr and/or Ni was taken into account. The mass balances of three elements (Fe, Cr, and Ni) provided complementary information for confirmation of our estimations. As a result of dynamic analysis, the in-use stock of ferritics and austenitics at the end of the year 2005 was 4Tg and 14Tg, respectively, which converts to 3Tg of Cr and 1Tg of Ni. In addition, the recycling flow was closely analyzed. From the result for the year 2005, the recycling rates as stainless steel scrap were estimated as 21–38% for ferritics and 94–100% for austenitics. The amount of ferritics scrap to be recycled as carbon steel was quantified as well. By comparing our results with those in previous studies, we found that applying parameters obtained in other countries may be misleading, especially in recycling flows.
Article
The rise of China to become world largest iron and steel producer and consumer since the late 1990s can be largely attributed to urbanization, with about 20% of China's steel output used by residential buildings, and about 50% for the construction sector as a whole. Previously, a dynamic material flow analysis (MFA) model was developed to analyze the dynamics of the rural and the urban housing systems in China. This model is expanded here to specifically analyze iron and steel demand and scrap availability from the housing sector. The evolution of China's housing stock and related steel is simulated from 1900 through 2100. For almost all scenarios, the simulation results indicate a strong drop in steel demand for new housing construction over the next decades, due to the expected lengthening of the – presently extremely short – life span of residential buildings. From an environmental as well as a resource conservation point of view, this is a reassuring conclusion. Calculations for the farther future indicate that the demand for steel will not just decrease but will rather oscillate: the longer the life spans of buildings, the stronger the oscillation. The downside of this development would be the overcapacities in steel production. A scenario with slightly lower life spans but a strong emphasis on secondary steel production might reduce the oscillation at moderate environmental costs.
Article
An ``anthrobiogeochemical'' copper cycle, from Earth's core to the Moon, combining natural biogeochemical and human anthropogenic stocks and flows is derived for the mid-1990s. Although some aspects of the quantification have moderate to high uncertainty, the anthropogenic mining, manufacturing, and use flows (on the order of 104 Gg Cu/yr) clearly dominate the cycle. In contrast, the natural repositories of Earth's core, mantle, and crust, and of the Moon, hold much higher stocks of copper (>1010 Gg) than do anthropogenic repositories (<106 Gg). The results indicate that the present anthropogenic rate of copper extraction exceeds the natural rate of renewal by ~106.
Article
We present a dynamic model of global copper stocks and flows which allows a detailed analysis of recycling efficiencies, copper stocks in use, and dissipated and landfilled copper. The model is based on historical mining and refined copper production data (1910-2010) enhanced by a unique data set of recent global semifinished goods production and copper end-use sectors provided by the copper industry. To enable the consistency of the simulated copper life cycle in terms of a closed mass balance, particularly the matching of recycled metal flows to reported historical annual production data, a method was developed to estimate the yearly global collection rates of end-of-life (postconsumer) scrap. Based on this method, we provide estimates of 8 different recycling indicators over time. The main indicator for the efficiency of global copper recycling from end-of-life (EoL) scrap-the EoL recycling rate-was estimated to be 45% on average, ± 5% (one standard deviation) due to uncertainty and variability over time in the period 2000-2010. As uncertainties of specific input data-mainly concerning assumptions on end-use lifetimes and their distribution-are high, a sensitivity analysis with regard to the effect of uncertainties in the input data on the calculated recycling indicators was performed. The sensitivity analysis included a stochastic (Monte Carlo) uncertainty evaluation with 10(5) simulation runs.
Article
A dynamic material flow model was developed to simulate the evolution of global aluminum stocks in geological reserve and anthropogenic reservoir from 1900 to 2010 on a country level. The contemporary global aluminum stock in use (0.6 Gt or 90 kg/capita) has reached about 10% of that in known bauxite reserves and represents an embodied energy amount that is equivalent to three quarters of the present global annual electricity consumption. The largest proportions of in-use stock are located in the U.S. (28%), China (15%), Japan (7%), and Germany (6%) and in sectors of building and construction (40%) and transportation (27%). Industrialized countries have shown similar patterns of aluminum in-use stock growth: once the per-capita stocks have reached a threshold level of 50 kg, they kept a near linear annual growth of 5-10 kg/capita; no clear signs of saturation can be observed yet. The present aluminum in-use stocks vary widely across countries: approximately 100-600 kg/capita in industrialized countries and below 100 kg/capita in developing countries. The growing global aluminum in-use stock has significant implications on future aluminum demand and provides important recycling opportunities that will be critical for greenhouse gas emissions mitigation in the aluminum industry in the coming decades.
Article
The stocks and flows of the global silver, aluminum, chromium, copper, iron, nickel, lead, and zinc cycles quantify over 98% of the total mass of metal mobilized by human activity at the turn of the 21st century. Iron and aluminum, representing >95% by mass of all metals mined, are for the first time assessed for global anthropogenic emissions to air, water, and land. Anthropogenic activity has significantly perturbed Earth's natural biogeochemical cycles, attested by the "grand nutrient" cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur and further revealed here by the "anthrobiogeochemical" cycles of metals. We demonstrate that humans today mobilize about half the metal mass of these global elemental metal cycles.
Article
Australia is a major supplier of minerals globally, but the country’s ability to meet both projections for future demand and sustainability goals is hampered by a range of environmental and social issues associated with traditional modes of minerals production. At a time when society’s expectations for the environmental and social performance of companies are becoming more stringent, mineral production in Australia has become more difficult and expensive - issues that are often disguised by (and overlooked as a result of) high resource prices and an outwardly buoyant economy. Difficulty and expense are characterised not by the absence of resources, but by declining ore grades, substantially increasing mine waste, rising energy consumption, and falling multi-factor productivity. Together, social changes and production challenges are reinforcing the recognition that business as usual cannot deliver on the sustainability imperative. Technological development has been an important focus in seeking to address many of the challenges facing the Australian minerals industry, but this alone has not been adequate, and may not be the panacea of the future. Research exploring the future of minerals production and its implications for society and the economy must be accompanied by foresight into the long-term strategic challenges, future scenarios, social, economic and regional contexts where these implications will play out.
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Steel production accounts for 25% of industrial carbon emissions. Long-term forecasts of steel demand