Department of Energy Critical Materials Strategy Video (Text Version)
This is a text version of the "Department of Energy Critical Materials Strategy" video presented at the Critical Materials Workshop, held on April 3, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia.
Dr. Diana Bauer, Office of Policy and International Affairs
DR. CHRISTODOULOU: Thank you. So that is the broader agenda of materials, and now let's be a little more specific and bring it to the Department of Energy. Diana?
DR. BAUER: So I am going to build on both David's and Elizabeth's comments, and dive in a little bit more in a little bit more detail on how we applied how we adapted the National Academy of Sciences' criticality assessment methodology for our critical materials strategy.
Just to reground us in what we covered in the critical materials strategy, again, as David mentioned in his remarks, we looked at fluorescent lighting, photovoltaics, wind turbines, and electric vehicles. And this year we also we also looked at petroleum refining.
We adapted the methodology that Elizabeth presented on but we dove a little bit more in a little bit more detail into the supply and demand. So this map up here is a map of rare earth development projects that are, you know, sort of coming up.
This is another version of that same data. This is some of the mines that are coming up, opening soon, or already open in the case of Mountain Pass. And one of the things that this table shows is that the mines have different relative proportions of the different elements.
And so it is actually the rare earths are not all the same. And to sort of understand the relative criticality of the different elements, it is really important to dig down into what is in the different mines that are coming in the next several years.
We also did a similar analysis for the other elements that were not rare earth. So we looked at indium, gallium, tellurium, cobalt, lithium, nickel, and manganese, and looked at supply in 2010, and then anticipated available supply in 2015.
Another thing that we did look at was the demand pressure over time. So here you can see in this graph in we have all of these metals scaled to 100 in 1980, and then looking at kind of over the next 30 years how the demand has scaled.
So you can see that, for example, indium is way up there at the top, the green. The rare earths are orange, so they are not so far behind. Gallium is also up there. But iron and steel, the sort of basic commodity metals, those are at the bottom and they have basically doubled in global demand in the last 30 years.
We also looked at prices. This is an example price trajectory for neodymium over the last two years.
And then, in terms of demand, we developed some demand trajectories based on clean energy, anticipated deployment of clean energy, and also the material intensity of the technologies that we were considering.
So, for example, for high technology deployment scenarios, we use International Energy Agency reports, including the Energy Technology Perspectives, the World Energy Outlook.
There was also a report on the phaseout of incandescent lights that we used as well, and we used these to have sort of an upper bound for deployment of these clean energy technologies. And we also used a business-as-usual scenario from IEA for the baseline deployment.
In addition, we took all of these technologies, and through the information that we gathered in the request for information that David mentioned, and also through discussions with our experts and reaching out to industry, in some cases directly, we came up with high intensity and low intensity values for these materials within the technologies.
And in general, the high intensity was material intensity was current technology, generational technology, or use technology. And low intensity was intensity with feasible improvements in material efficiency.
So we have if you look at our report, we have, you know, these tables, and we also have we have appendices that explain in more detail the methodology, the sort of assumptions going into all of this. And so this is just more of these technologies.
Then, what we did was we developed four different trajectories based on the high deployment. So, for example, the solid green line there is high deployment, high material intensity. The bottom-most line is that blue dashed line, which is low deployment, low intensity.
So we are sort of looking at different possibilities for the future. This is not predicting the future. And, actually, this particular graph is for dysprosium, and we would love to have the future look different from what is in this picture, actually.
So I described the blue and green lines. The red lines are actually graphing what was in that early table that I showed with the 2010 supply, the bottom red line, and then the dashed lines being additions of supply between 2010 and 2015.
And so one thing to notice here and, again, as I mentioned, not all rare earths are created equal this is dysprosium. Many of the mines that are opening or, you know, the mines that we anticipate to open by 2015 will have a relatively small relatively small contribution of dysprosium, and that is one of the reasons why dysprosium ended up coming out as one of the elements that we are concerned about.
Here is another example. This is lithium. As David mentioned in his remarks, we did not see so much of an issue with lithium, even with that dramatic increase that we see in Trajectory D with the solid green line. We actually we have some give in the potential supply availability for that dashed red line there.
And for our criticality assessment, we did adapt from the method that Elizabeth presented on. We did change a little bit the sort of the framing, because we were particularly interested in clean energy. So we looked at we gave 75 percent of the score to the demand for clean energy, the importance of the demand for clean energy, and then 25 percent for substitutability limitations.
And this importance to clean energy corresponds to the Y-axis that Elizabeth showed. And then, we have risk of supply disruption, which includes basic availability, and that basic availability was basically an interpretation of those graphs that I showed you.
We also had competing technology demand, which was basically if you have other technologies beyond energy that are associated with a dramatic rise in demand, then that score is high.
Political, regulatory, and social factors, co-dependence on other markets, that is co-production issues, and then producer diversity.
And as Elizabeth mentioned, the timeframe is important. We looked at short term and medium term.
And this it is hard to read, but I just wanted to show you what our actual element-by-element assessments look like in our report. And these are there is a page like this on every element that we looked at in the report, and this particular one is for tellurium.
And so here is our short-term criticality assessment for the elements. And as you can see, dysprosium, europium, terbium, yttrium, neodymium come out as critical.
I agree with Elizabeth that criticality is relative, but we had to sort of pick a subset of what we looked at to focus on as important. And here is the medium term, so we see some shifting between, you know, the period from now to 2015, and the period from 2015 to 2025.
And this is a picture showing the shifting of criticality between our report in 2010 and our report in 2011. And you can see in the red zone there is some shifting among some of the rare earths, but the only element that shifted out of the critical zone was indium. But generally, our conclusions were fairly similar to what they were in our 2010 report.
I just want to quickly go through some case studies that we covered in our report as well. We did, as I mentioned, fluid cracking catalysts, permanent magnets, and lighting. So just so basically our bottom line conclusion for our petroleum refining analysis was that rare earths play an important role, but the sector's vulnerability to the rare earth supply disruption is limited.
And that is in part because they use relatively abundant lanthanum, and also there is strategy going on in the catalyst manufacturers to reduce their rare earth use.
We also saw that the rare earth situation was affecting the technology deployment decisions in the wind and EV sectors, with some substitution of induction motors for permanent magnet motors and wind turbine designs without dysprosium, et cetera.
And, finally, looking at lighting, we see with many countries moving towards energy efficient lighting increased demand for fluorescent lighting is potentially an issue for europium, terbium, and yttrium. And as I said, supply of these elements is tight in the short term.
And we have U.S. standards playing into the picture in the short term, but in the medium term we would expect a transition to LEDs, which would ease the pressure on rare earth supplies. And that's it. Thanks. (Applause.)
DR. CHRISTODOULOU: Thank you, Diana.
So the last couple of talks have really framed the sort of the challenge, if you wish, and some of the data that is available. All of the data is available for you to access through the various websites, and you can obviously have that.