DrThe increasing demand for it Raw materialsRising prices and dependence on individual countries worry the economy. The German Economic Research Institute (IW Consult) rates the availability of 27 important metals, minerals and rare earths as “very important”. Many of these raw materials are essential to digitization and the energy transition.
“Raw materials markets are still functioning,” IW Consult managing director Karl Lichtblau said Friday when the study was presented in Munich. However, there are risks if you are too dependent on individual producing countries or suppliers. For example, Germany gets a lot of nickel from Russia batteries And for steel and palladium alloys for the electrical engineering and chemical industries. In contrast to gas imports, “commodity trade with Russia is still going on,” Lichtblau said.
“The sometimes difficult geopolitical situation makes it increasingly difficult to obtain raw materials,” said Bertram Brossardt, managing director of the Bavarian Business Association (vbw). Dependencies can be used as leverage in conflicts, “then it becomes a serious problem.”
In the study commissioned by vbw, IW Consult cites copper as an example of the rapidly growing demand for raw materials. The energy transition will increase demand by 40 to 75 percent by 2030 and as much as 165 percent by 2040. Copper is not geologically scarce, but investment in mining, recycling and raw material efficiency must be invested, and demand is rising, Lichtblau said. lead to higher prices. The biggest challenge, however, Brossardt said, “will be adapting transportation and processing chains quickly enough for the growing demand.”
One of the largest sources of carbon dioxide is cement production – 8 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions are attributed to the manufacture of this building material, more than half of which is in China. The carbon dioxide produced during cement production could be captured and stored, and recycling of construction waste could be improved, Lichtblau said. There is now also carbon concrete. But “this of course raises construction costs.”
“Recycling is a big issue,” Lichtblau emphasized. This should start with product development. In the case of cobalt, for example, a third of consumption could be saved through the circular economy.
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