Demand for base metals by the renewable energy industry will double by 2040 due to increased use of solar energy, predicted consultancy Wood Mackenzie in a report released this week.
Wood Mackenzie’s calculations start from a scenario in which global warming will be between 2.8 and 3°C, although it also proposes two other outlines, in which the consumption of base metals would increase even more.
In the baseline scenario, global aluminum consumption for solar technologies was 2.4mn mt in 2020 and would rise to 4.6mn mt in 2040, as the structures of future solar plants could be built of aluminum instead of steel.
Photovoltaic systems for solar power generation will cause high demand in the Mackenzie baseline scenario, to go from consuming 400,000mt in 2020 to 700,000mt in 2040.
According to the consultancy, large-scale solar energy plants have a workable life of up to 30 years, which is why they require a large amount of zinc for anti-corrosion coatings; in this way, the consumption of said metal by this sector would go from 400,000mt in 2020 to 800,000mt in 2040.