Life-cycle studies on raw materials for renewable energy development in France
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
The present report is a reflection on the impact and costs of raw materials involved in renewable energy (RE) technology development. The study is performed in collaboration with ADEME in France and is based on a range of previous studies initiated by ADEME, which aimed to test the limits for the integration of renewables in the energy mix by considering their raw material consumption and identifying the possible impacts if this consumption steadily grows in the future.
The Earth’s material resources are already under heavy pressure, especially the exotic metals used in advanced technologies including renewable energy components and equipment. A sharp rise in material consumption due to a wide deployment of renewable energy could harm the metal markets and endanger the industries that depend on them. Securing a sustainable development path for RE technologies would require avoiding any fast resource depletion. This thesis focuses on several modern RE technologies, identifies their specific raw material consumption and points out some important strategic and economic issues regarding their sustainability. The possible penetration in the energy mix of France of different RE technologies related to their life-cycle and cost implications of the involved raw materials is discussed.
The study also compares the requirement of raw materials for a 100%-RE energy system to a more conventional mix where the larger part is allocated to nuclear power and fossil fuels. By identifying the weaknesses and strengths of the renewable energy technologies as far as materials are concerned, the author aims at promoting the idea that a detailed Life Cycle Assessment of a project during the planning phase is a useful tool for the decision process and an important first step towards a more sustainable energy mix.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 50 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-167354OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-167354DiVA: diva2:813212
2015-04-28, 09:30 (English)