World Mining for Renewables (8 of 20): METALS for WIND ENERGY Global Marketplace

World Mining for Renewables (8 of 20): METALS for WIND ENERGY Global Marketplace

This post is the eight edition of a 20 posts collection with the analysis in describing the connection of  Renewables (Solar & Wind) world market with the mining industry (extractive industries). We will check the production of metals, industrial and construction minerals to build solar modules and windmills around the world. In the end of the article, you can find the links to the other articles of the collection.

For the next 5 years (2028 - 2022), Wind Energy marketplace will require 77.74 million tones of metals 

Main Results

In the following article, we will analyze specific metals and industrial minerals, however, in the present article, we are focused on the requirements for metals to build world wind energy facilities.

Tones of Metals

In the next 5 years (2018 – 2022), the Global

Wind Energy market will require a large number of metals and metallurgical coal to produce steel, next table illustrates the case of major metals:

Captura de pantalla 2017-12-25 a las 12.13.50

Wind Energy marketplace will require 47.11 million tones of metals and 36.45 million tones of metallurgical coal:

  • 74.36 million tons of Iron Ore meaning the 95.65% of total metals.
  • 1.38 million tones of Aluminium, meaning the 1.72 % of total metals.
  • 1.67 million tones of Copper, 2.16% of total metals.
  • 366 thousand tones for others (minor metals for Electric & Electronic devices)

Metals for Wind Energy Market Size for the 2018-2022 period

Based on November 2017 market commodity prices, the size of the metals products for wind energy  market by the 2018  – 2022 period (both included) will be up to:

  • 22,501 USD million distributed in …
    • Iron Ore: 5,280 USD million, up to 23.46% on total metals.
    • Aluminium: 2,825 USD million, meaning the 12.55% on total metals.
    • Copper: 11,817 USD million, 52.52% on total metals.
    • Others (minor metals for Electric & Electronic devices): 2,581 USD Million 11.47% on total metals
  • and 5,468 USD million for Metallurgical Coal

Market evolution (2015 – 2022)

The following image illustrates the market evolution of these metals from 2015 to 2022:

Metals for Wind

Major metals requirements for Solar PV market results (2015-2022):

  • Iron Ore: 11.76 (2015) to 16.37 a million tones (2022)
  • Aluminum 0.21  (2015) to 0.29 million tones (2022)
  • Copper: 0.246  (2015) to 0.375 million tones (2022)
  • Others (Electric & electronic): 57 thousand tones (2015) to 80.6 thousand tones (2022)
  • Metallurgical Coal: 5.76 (2015) to 8 million tones (2022)

Methodological note

1. Determination of composition for Wind Energy material Components

Following two images, source IRENA 2017 data and Vestas 2015, we build an equivalent matrix between tonnes of minerals and metals with MWp for solar and wind energy facilities. Plastics are included in the division of «oil derived products»,

Wind Energy Materials composition

Captura de pantalla 2017-12-09 a las 12.39.41

Solar PV Materials composition (IRENA)

Captura de pantalla 2017-12-09 a las 12.40.40
Metals market for Wind Energy 2015 to 2022 reach 22,501 USD million

2. Determination of Energy for major common materials,

Energy, including fuel and electricity, for major materials involving the needs for minerals and metals, is a complex subject for discussion. We have to include not only the energy requirements for mining but also to transform into other products as metals or glass. We use the following source of information to determine the energy to take (on average) to produce 1 kilogram of the following materials in Lower Tech Magazine.  

A. Involving Ferrous Metals

  • Steel (from recycled steel): 6-15MJ (1,665 to 4,170 watt-hours)
  • Steel (from iron): 20-50MJ (5,550 to 13,900 watt-hours)
  • Iron (from iron ore): 20-25MJ (5,550 to 6,950 watt-hours)
  • The composition of Steel:
    • Ratio Iron Ore to Steel: 1.25
    • Ratio Metallurgical Coal to Steel: 0.625

B. Involving Base Metals

  • Aluminum (from 100 % recycled aluminum): 11.35-17MJ (3,150 to 4,750 watt-hours)
  • Aluminum (from a typical mix of 80% virgin and 20% recycled aluminum): 219 MJ (60,800 watt-hours)
  • Aluminum (from bauxite): 227-342MJ (63,000 to 95,000 watt-hours)
  • Nickel (from ore concentrate): 230-270MJ (63,900 to 75,000 watt-hours)
  • Copper (from sulfide ore): 60-125MJ (16,600 to 34,700 watt-hours)

C. Involving Precious Metals

D. Involving Industrial Minerals

  • Silicon (from silica): 230-235MJ (63,900 to 65,300 watt-hours)
  • Electronic grade silicon (CVD process): 7,590-7,755MJ (2,108,700 to 2,154,900 watt-hours).
  • Glass (from sand, etcetera): 18-35MJ (5,000 to 9,700 watt-hours). Quartz is 
  • Plastics (from crude oil): 62-108MJ (17,200 to 31,950 watt-hours)
  • Titanium (from ore concentrate): 900-940MJ (250,000 to 261,000 watt-hours)

E. Involving Construction and Industrial Minerals

  • Composition of Concrete, Glass, and Fiberglass
Captura de pantalla 2017-12-09 a las 12.27.56 Captura de pantalla 2017-12-09 a las 12.29.17 66061D73-9E66-478A-992B-6F571F3F8168

3. Balance previous data with Solar PV and Wind Energy market facilities

We adjust the precedent data with Solar PV and Wind Energy market data. Sourcing:

Previous Posts

  1. World Mining for Renewables (1 of 20): The SOLAR PV Market
  2. World Mining for Renewables (2 of 20): The WIND Energy Market
  3. World Mining for Renewables (3 of 20): The SOLAR PV & WIND Energy Markets
  4. World Mining for Renewables (4 of 20): Mineral & Metal Resources for SOLAR PV Marketplace
  5. World Mining for Renewables (5 of 20): Mineral & Metal Resources for WIND Energy Marketplace
  6. World Mining for Renewables (6 of 20): Mineral & Metal Resources for SOLAR & WIND Energy Markets
  7. World Mining for Renewables (7 of 20): METALS for SOLAR PV Global Marketplace

Next Post (9 of 20)

Under next article, we will analyze the demands for METALS for SOLAR & WIND ENERGY Marketplace.

LinkedIn Group: Renewable Energy for Mining and Oil:

If  you are interesting about these topics (Renewable Energies, Energy Storage, Electric Vehicles), please you are welcome to participate in the LinkedIn group about

 “Renewable Energy for Mining and Oil Industry”


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