Visualizing the Copper Intensity of Renewable Energy
The world is moving away from fossil fuels, towards large-scale adoption of clean energy technologies.
Building these technologies is a mineral-intensive process. From aluminum and chromium to rare earths and cobalt, the energy transition is creating massive demand for a range of minerals.
Copper is one such mineral, which stands out due to its critical role in building both the technologies as well as the infrastructure that allows us to harness their power.
The above infographic from Trilogy Metals highlights the role of copper in renewable energy, and how the adoption of wind and solar energy will affect its demand going forward.
Copper’s Role in Renewable Energy
Copper has one of the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of all metals. As a result, it’s the most widely-used mineral among energy technologies and is essential for all electricity-related infrastructure.
According to Navigant Research, here’s how much copper wind and solar farms use per megawatt:
|Technology||Copper Usage/MW (lbs)||Copper Usage/MW (U.S. tons)||Copper Usage/MW (tonnes)|
Solar photovoltaics (PV) primarily rely on copper for cabling, wiring, and heat exchange due to its efficiency in conducting heat and electricity. Wind energy technologies make use of the red metal in their turbines, cables, and transformers. Offshore wind farms typically use larger amounts because they are connected to land via long undersea cables that are made of copper.
In addition, copper is also a key part of the grid networks that transmit electricity from power plants to our homes. With the increasing adoption of renewable energy, the demand for copper will only grow.
Copper Intensity of the Energy Transition
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), solar and wind energy installations need to scale up significantly under their REmap scenario, in which efforts are made to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees by 2050.
Based on the copper content figures from Navigant Research and IRENA’s required capacity projections, here are the copper requirements for annual solar and wind installations in 2020 and 2050:
|Technology||2020 Installed Capacity (megawatts)||Copper Content (2020, tonnes)||2050p Installed Capacity (megawatts)||Copper Content (2050p, tonnes)|
|Solar PV||126,735 MW||633,675||372,000 MW||1,860,000|
|Onshore Wind||105,015 MW||451,565||202,000 MW||868,600|
|Offshore Wind||6,013 MW||57,725||45,000 MW||432,000|
Copper content figures were calculated by multiplying copper content per MW in tonnes with annual installed capacities in 2020 and 2050.
Relative to 2020 levels, annual copper demand from solar PV installations could more than double by 2030, and almost triple by 2050. The largest percentage increase in copper requirements comes from offshore wind farms. IRENA’s REmap scenario requires 45,000 MW of annual offshore wind installations in 2050, which translates into 432,000 tonnes of copper—a 648% increase from 2020 levels.
By 2050, annual copper demand from wind and solar technologies could exceed 3 million tonnes or around 15% of 2020 copper production. However, it isn’t clear whether we will have enough supply of copper to meet this growing demand.
Will Supply Meet Demand?
According to Citigroup, the global copper market is expected to be in a 521,000 tonne deficit in 2021—and the transition to renewables is still in its early stages.
While the demand for copper comes from a range of industries, the majority of its supply comes from a few regions, making the supply chain susceptible to disruptions. Mine shutdowns in 2020 exemplified this, as copper production fell by around 500,000 tonnes.
Additionally, average ore grades in Chile, the largest producer of copper, have fallen by 30% over the last 15 years, making it more difficult to mine copper.
Although copper is available in abundance, declining ore grades and concentrated production are a cause for concern, especially as demand rises. Therefore, new sources of copper will be valuable in meeting the growing material needs of the clean energy transition.
Every Cannabis Product In One Graphic
The cannabis industry is growing by billions every year. This graphic provides an overview of cannabis products and ranks their popularity.
Every Cannabis Product In One Graphic
There are few markets experiencing growth quite like cannabis, which in 2020 had an additional 7,000 products hit dispensary shelves compared to the year prior. However, for novice cannabis consumers and investors, the different products and their uses can be overwhelming.
This sponsored graphic by Tenacious Labs provides an overview of cannabis products, and is part of a multi-part series that covers different factors affecting the future of cannabis.
Let’s break down cannabis products on the market today.
First, is cannabis flower, which is the ingestible part of the cannabis plant and is the most popular way to consume. It is cultivated, harvested, dried, and cured, as part of the preparation process before making its way to the end consumer. Due to its popularity, it also represents the largest component of the U.S. legal market.
In 2021, some $10.9 billion in dried herb or “buds” were purchased. In addition, pre-rolls generated $2.2 billion, which are pre-rolled products prepared by dispensaries. The psychoactive effects from consuming flower are felt almost instantly, which remains a key appeal.
2. Cartridges, Concentrates, and Extracts
Cannabis concentrates are a growing category which have taken the market by storm in recent years. They come in various forms including raw concentrates, cartridges, and extracts. Preparing them involves removing impurities form the plant, leaving only the desired compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes.
This highly concentrated form of cannabis results in THC levels of 80-90%, compared to the 10-20% range most commonly found in dry herb flower. Raw concentrates hit $2.2 billion in U.S. legal sales in 2021. And cartridges, which are products intended to be vaped and are typically paired with a battery accessory, were worth $5.1 billion.
The appeals associated with concentrates include a higher dose which results in stronger effects, plus a more discrete experience given they have little to no smell.
Next, are edibles, where the THC is metabolized by the liver and consumed through infused food and drinks. This leads to an different experience relative to inhaling. For example, the euphoric or psychoactive effects typically last much longer and can take 1-2 hours to kick in.
The legal U.S. edibles market is growing fast. It recorded revenues of $2.3 billion in 2021 but is expected to reach a value of $8.5 billion by 2027. These growth prospects have not gone unnoticed, in fact, the alcohol industry is betting big on cannabis. As of late, waves of investments and acquisitions are occurring targeting cannabis-infused beverages.
A key driver of growth comes from the health conscious consumer who may want to avoid the smoking process altogether.
4. Topicals and Others
Last are topicals and other products. Topicals are CBD-infused non-psychoactive products like lotions, balms, and oils. These are gaining notoriety for their wellness properties including the relief of pain, soreness, and inflammation. However, the market remains relatively modest, with a market value of $200 million. Furthermore, the topicals market appeals to those not interested in any psychoactive effects, and is particularly popular amongst women and pet owners.
Other products include papers, pipes, batteries, and all other accessories, which also provide notable revenues and opportunities.
Measuring Market Share of Cannabis Products
With all these products in mind, let’s take a look at market share. Although edibles, vapes, and concentrates have risen tremendously in value over the years, flower still remains number one, representing 43% of legal sales, followed by cartridges at 20.3% market share.
|Product||Market Share (%)||Market Value ($B)|
Seasonality also plays a role in cannabis consumption. Since dry flower tends to be consumed outdoors, the data shows that it loses market share during the cold winter months.
The Next Chapter
Cannabis products have come a long way from their early days when variety was considered a choice between an indica or sativa strain. As the industry develops and more money is injected into the space, we should see product innovation accelerate even further.
Visualizing the Evolution of the Global Meat Market
The global meat market will be worth $1.8 trillion by 2040, but how much of that will plant-based alternatives and cultured meat command?
The Evolution of the Global Meat Market
In the last decade, there has been an undeniable shift in consumers’ preferences when it comes to eating meat.
This is partly due to the wide availability of meat replacement options combined with growing awareness of their health benefits and lower impact on the environment compared to conventional meat.
In this infographic from CULT Food Science (CSE: CULT), we examine how meat consumption is expected to evolve over the next two decades. Let’s dive in.
Taking a Bite out of Meat’s Market Share
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a massive turning point for the meat industry, and it will continue to evolve dramatically over the next 20 years. Taking inflation into account, the global meat market is expected to grow overall by roughly 3% by 2040 as a result of population growth.
However, as consumption shifts, conventional meat supply is expected to decline by more than 33% according to Kearney. These products will be replaced by innovative meat alternatives, some of which have yet to hit the mass market.
- Novel vegan meat replacement: These are meat alternatives products made from plants that resemble the taste and texture of meat.
- Cultured meat: Also referred to as clean, cultivated, or lab grown meats, cultured meat is a genuine meat product that is produced by cultivating animal cells in a controlled environment without the need to harm animals.
Aside from new meat replacements, biotech will also transform adjacent industries like dairy, eggs, and fish.
The Future of Food?
Meat replacements and cultured meat could overtake the conventional meat market, with cultured meats reigning supreme overall with a 41% annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2025 and 2040.
New technologies for cultivating non-animal based protein will provide one-third of the global meat supply due to an increase in commercial competitiveness and consumers becoming more accepting of these kinds of products.
Meanwhile, conventional meat will make up just 40% of all global meat supply by 2040, compared to 90% in 2025. For this very reason, conventional meat producers are investing a significant amount of capital in meat alternative companies so they can avoid disruption.
Invest in the Revolution
The changing tides in the industry have sparked a variety of undeniable opportunities:
- Regulatory approvals: Singapore is the first country to legalize cultured meat for consumers, and many more will no doubt follow behind in the coming years.
- Lower production costs: Cultured meat and dairy have made quantum leaps in reducing production costs.
- Changing consumer ethics: Consumers are demanding a more ethical approach to factory farming and cultured and plant-based alternative products are becoming a more accepted solution.
CULT Food Science (CSE: CULT) is a cutting edge investment platform advancing the future of food. The first-of-its-kind in North America, CULT aims to provide unprecedented exposure to the most innovative start-up, private or early stage lab grown food companies around the world.
Will you be part of the revolution?
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