Metals for a low-carbon society

Journal name:
Nature Geoscience
Year published:
Published online

Renewable energy requires infrastructures built with metals whose extraction requires more and more energy. More mining is unavoidable, but increased recycling, substitution and careful design of new high-tech devices will help meet the growing demand.

At a glance


  1. A row of wind turbines.
    Figure 1: A row of wind turbines.
  2. Increasing global consumption of raw materials.
    Figure 2: Increasing global consumption of raw materials.

    The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) predicts that the contribution from wind and solar energy to global energy production will rise to 25,000 TWh in 20507. To meet this demand, the global production of raw materials such as concrete, steel, aluminium, copper and glass will need to significantly increase. Open and filled symbols correspond to different volumes of raw material required to construct different types of photovoltaic panels (PV1 and PV2, respectively, in Supplementary Table 1).


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Author information


  1. CNRS, Université Grenoble Alpes, 1381 Rue de la Piscine BP53, 38041 Grenoble, Cedex 09, France

    • Olivier Vidal &
    • Nicholas Arndt
  2. CNRS, CEREGE, Aix-Marseille Université, Technopole Environnement Arbois, Mediterranee BP80, 13545 Aix en Provence, Cedex 04, France

    • Bruno Goffé

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