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Rare earths demand for onshore wind to soar

The date of: 2020-04-21
viewed: 1

source:Argus Media

For wind turbines, demand is expected to rise for structural materials such as concrete, steel, plastic, glass, aluminium, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and zinc. Consumption of technology-specific materials such as rare-earth elements and minor metals will also grow.

The EU onshore wind sector will see the biggest increase in demand, especially for rare earths dysprosium, neodymium, praseodymium and terbium, which are used in permanent magnet-based turbines.

In the high-demand scenario, EU consumption of these rare earths could increase sixfold between 2018 and 2030 and 15-fold by 2050. Based on the EU's 2050 decarbonisation targets, Europe alone would require most of the neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium currently available globally, if all the extra wind turbines envisaged were to be built.

For the rest of the world, the high-demand scenario envisages consumption of rare earths for wind turbines rising by a factor of 8-9 between 2018 and 2030 and by a factor of 11-14 between 2018 and 2050.

Demand within the EU from the offshore wind sector is expected to rise less sharply, but the opposite will be true for the rest of the world — largely because globally the sector lags behind Europe.

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