Category Archives: Elements: Critical

Includes rare earth elements. The U.S. is concerned about having enough supplies to make vehicles, renewable energy technologies, and military weapons. Plus maintaining access to and the reliability of entire supply chains for rare earths and other minerals.

Utility scale energy storage limited by minerals and geography

Preface. Natural gas is finite, but aside from (pumped) hydropower, natural gas is the main way wind and solar are balanced now. Therefore, a tremendous amount of energy storage will be needed in the future as natural gas declines. The … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Batteries, Battery - Utility Scale, CAES Compressed Air, Elements: Critical, Mining, Pumped Hydro Storage (PHS) | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Not enough rare metals to scale up solar power

Preface. Sunshine may be free, but the materials to make solar contraptions sure aren’t.  Since sunshine arrives in a diluted form, vast expanses of solar photovoltaic panels will be needed to produce the world’s 24,000 Terawatt hours of electrical power … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Elements: Critical, Elements: Rare Earth, Mining, Photovoltaic Solar, Recycle | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Why rare and valuable metals are not recycled

Preface. This is a post about why rare and critical metals aren’t recycled at all or at best, just a small percent. Basically it is still cheaper to mine them from scratch than to try to separate them out from … Continue reading

Posted in Elements: Critical, Elements: Platinum Group, Elements: Precious, Elements: Rare Earth, Recycle, Ugo Bardi | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Renewables: not enough minerals, energy, time or clean and green

Preface. Electricity generating contraptions like wind and solar can’t replace the 50% of oil used in global manufacturing, because they can’t generate the high heat needed, or run battery or catenary electric trucks as I explained in “When Trucks Top … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Battery - Utility Scale, Elements: Critical, Elements: Platinum Group, Elements: Rare Earth, Peak Resources, Recycle, Solar, Wind | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Ugo Bardi’s The Universal Mining Machine

Preface. Below I’ve excerpted some of Ugo Bardi’s “The Universal Mining Machine” (24 January 2008 europe.theoildrum), but I’ve left a great deal out of this excellent article, I encourage you to read all of it if you have time. The … Continue reading

Posted in Elements: Critical, Mining, Ugo Bardi | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Minerals essential for wind, solar, and high-tech, are anything but clean and green

This is a book review of Pitron’s “The rare metals war”.  To produce the metals and minerals to make a transition to wind, solar, nuclear and so on would be incredibly destructive and filthy. A fifth of China’s arable land … Continue reading

Posted in Battery - Utility Scale, Elements: Critical, Elements: Rare Earth, Mining, Peak Resources, Photovoltaic Solar, Recycle, Wind | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

328 Million Americans use 3.2 million pounds of minerals, metals, and fuels in their lifetime

Preface. Even if you go off the grid, society is using up minerals at an exponential rate to maintain the non-negotiable American lifestyle, which in 2006, required 3.7 million pounds of minerals, metals, and fuels in each person’s lifetime, or … Continue reading

Posted in Elements: Critical, Mining, Recycle | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Batteries are made of rare, declining, critical, and imported elements

Preface.  Since oil and other fossils are finite and emit carbon, the plan is to electrify society with batteries.  But doh!  Minerals used in batteries are finite too.  And dependent on fossil-fueled transportation and manufacturing from mining trucks, to smelter, … Continue reading

Posted in Batteries, Elements: Critical, Elements: Rare Earth, Mining | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Peak Stainless Steel

Steel and nickel aren’t on the critical mineral list, but nickel ought to be, since this study shows that there is a significant risk that stainless steel production will reach its maximum capacity around 2055 because of declining nickel production, … Continue reading

Posted in Elements: Critical, Infrastructure, Mining | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Peak Helium

Preface. Turns out helium is needed for a lot more than party balloons, and like all resources, it is in decline. I learned that Stuff Runs Out early in life when we visited dozens of abandoned gold and silver mining … Continue reading

Posted in Elements: Critical | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments