According to a study published by the Belgian University KU Leuven and commissioned by the European association of non-ferrous metal manufacturers Eurometaux, the transition towards sustainability will need 33% of aluminium more by 2050 versus current consumptions, owing to the bigger demand driven by electric vehicles, photovoltaic and development of electric networks.
The consequence? In Europe, around 2030, some problems might emerge because of the global provisioning shortage of metals, especially of lithium, cobalt, nickel, rare earths and copper, while the demand will reach the peak by 2040 approximately.
Let us go into the specific detail. European Union Countries will need a higher quantity of metals than today: 35% of additional copper will be necessary, 45% more silicon, whereas the supplies of nickel are expected to rise by 103% and cobalt ones by 330%. Not to mention the European demand for lithium, whose requirement will be higher by 3535% and of rare earths like dysprosium, needed with +2666% and neodymium, with +827%.
KU Leuven experts state domestic mines could potentially satisfy from 5% to 55% of the European requirements of metals for the energy transition in 2030.
What is the solution? On the medium-long term, recycling will be the key that will allow solving partly these problems along the provisioning chain.