Tag Archives: rare earth

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

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What are rare earth metals and how are they used?

Preface.  After oil, the main feature of new products will be drastic simplification. The re-use of existing stuff. Lack of precision machine tools as they rust away. Back to basics: wood, iron, and clay. Yet every high-tech object depends on … Continue reading

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Autos need finite rare earth, critical, & precious metals

An electric car uses five times as many minerals as a conventional car (IEA 2020): IEA, Minerals used in selected power generation technologies, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/minerals-used-in-selected-power-generation-technologies There are 17 rare earth elements (REE) that China controls up to 97% of … Continue reading

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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

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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

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High-Tech can’t last: limited essential elements with limited lifespans

There are 17 rare earth elements in the periodic table. About nine of those elements go into every iPhone sold… and if China were suddenly to disappear from a map tomorrow, Apple would lose about 90% of those elements.  Source: … Continue reading

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Rare: The High-Stakes Race to Satisfy Our Need for the Scarcest Metals on Earth by Keith Veronese

Preface.  Capitalism believes there’s a solution for everything due to Man’s Inventive Brain, but when it comes to getting metals out of the earth, there are some very serious limitations.  In parts per billion, there’s only 4 of platinum, 20 … Continue reading

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Solar Photovoltaics (PV) limited by raw materials

This paper (excerpts below) shows that there are limits to growth — there simply aren’t enough minerals in the world that can be produced physically and/or at a reasonable cost for the many of the most common kinds of PV … Continue reading

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John Gribbin, Astrophysicist. If we destroy ourselves, a grave injustice to the universe

Below are a few paragraphs from Hirshfeld’s excellent book review of:    John Gribbin. 2011. Alone in the Universe: Why Our Planet Is Unique. Humans are a miracle of blood, bone, and brain, a volatile mixture of compassion and brutality … Continue reading

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