Got to be careful: World Bank says production for precious metals will have to grow by 500% through 2050 to fuel the global expansion in clean energy -- but not at the cost of destroying ecologies | Photo:

World Bank says precious metal production will have to rise by 500% by 2050

A new report by the World Bank predicts that production for lithium, graphite and other precious metals will have to shoot up by 500% by 2050 to keep up with the expected rise in clean energy capacity and e-mobility solutions. Titled “Minerals for Climate Action”, the report goes on to say that mining the three billion tonnes of the metals needed is one of the only ways to meet the Paris Agreement’s target on global warming, and that the CO2 emissions of the process will only be about 6% of the emissions from fossil fuels, if they were used to power the world instead.

However, the World Bank has cautioned that since most of the metals’ deposits are in poor countries, extraction must not come at the cost of wanton ecological damage.

Stanford announces breakthrough in wireless EV charging

The University of Stanford has announced a significant breakthrough in wireless charging technology for EVs with its latest iteration that uses a more efficient amplifier, which is able to transmit up to 10W of power across a span of two to three feet — within milliseconds. While currently this is only good enough to charge small electronic devices, when scaled up for real world applications it could recharge EVs without the need for conducting cables.

Reliable wireless charging would also lower the size of onboard batteries and allow for greater driving range per charge. The technology is also being tested in a different avatar in Sweden, which began testing its “electric road” in 2018 — that would charge EVs running along its length.

BMW continues with hydrogen fuel cells, VW to invest €450 million in battery factory

The BMW group has announced plans to invest EUR 30 billion into its new product lineup by 2025, and apart from EVs, it will also invest in hydrogen fuel-cells — whose prototypes the automaker has been developing since 2015. However, given the economics of the technology, it has been panned by Tesla, and BMW’s rival VW says they make “no sense”.

VW will instead invest €450 million into making EV batteries at its new “Northvolt Zwei” plant in Germany. The 16 GWh facility will commence production from 2024 and will produce battery cells for the group’s global products. Germany’s Daimler AG has also reaffirmed its commitment to EVs, with its CEO stating that despite market disruptions due to COVID-19, the automaker’s investments were “non-negotiable”. 

ABB to supply electric train tech to Stadler for multiple European locations

Swedish heavy industry major ABB has been awarded an order of $180 million by Germany’s Stadler Group to supply electric train technology for operations across multiple European nations. A major chunk of the order will be to electrify trains in Wales, where locomotives will be fitted with batteries to operate in the absence of overhead power lines or without diesel, and to convert intra-city tram rails from diesel to electric.

A hundred new regional trains will also be supplied with ABB’s technology and will operate across Hungary, Germany, Slovenia, USA and Canada.

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