Silver’s Role in the New Energy Era (Part 3 of 3)
Silver is one of the first metals that humans discovered and used. Its extensive use throughout history has linked its name to its monetary value. However, as we have advanced technologically, so have our uses for silver. In the future, silver will see a surge in demand from solar and electric vehicle (EV) technologies.
Part 3 of the Silver Series comes to us from Endeavour Silver, and it outlines silver’s role in the new energy era and how it is more than just a precious metal.
A Sterling Reputation: Silver’s History in Technologies
Silver along with gold, copper, lead and iron, was one of the first metals known to humankind. Archaeologists have uncovered silver coins and objects dating from before 4,000 BC in Greece and Turkey. Since then, governments and jewelers embraced its properties to mint currency and craft jewelry.
This historical association between silver and money is recorded across multiple languages. The word silver itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon language, seolfor, which itself comes from ancient Germanic silabar.
Silver’s chemical symbol, “Ag”, is an abbreviation of the Latin word for silver, argentum. The Latin word originates from argunas, a Sanskrit word which means shining. The French use argent as the word for money and silver. Romans bankers and silver traders carried the name argentarius.
While silver’s monetary meanings still stand today, there have been hints of its use beyond money throughout history. For centuries, many cultures used silver containers and wares to store wine, water, and food to prevent spoilage.
During bouts of bubonic plague in Europe, children of wealthy families sucked on silver spoons to preserve their health, which gave birth to the phrase “born with a silver spoon in your mouth.”
Medieval doctors invented silver nitrate used to treat ulcers and burns, a practice that continues to this day. In the 1900s, silver found further application in healthcare. Doctors used to administer eye drops containing silver to newborns in the United States. During World War I, combat medics, doctors, and nurses would apply silver sutures to cover deep wounds.
Silver’s shimmer also made an important material in photography up until the 1970s. Silver’s reflectivity of light made it popular in mirror and building windows.
Now, a new era is rediscovering silver’s properties for the next generation of technology, making the metal more than precious.
Silver in the New Energy Era: Solar and EVs
Silver’s shimmering qualities foreshadowed its use in renewable technologies. Among all metals, silver has the highest electrical conductivity, making it an ideal metal for use in solar cells and the electronic components of electric vehicles.
Silver in Solar Photovoltaics
Conductive layers of silver paste within the cells of a solar photovoltaic (PV) cell help to conduct the electricity within the cell. When light strikes a PV, the conductors absorb the energy and electrons are set free.
Silver’s conductivity carries and stores the free electrons efficiently, maximizing the energy output of a solar cell. According to one study from the University of Kent, a typical solar panel can contain as much as 20 grams of silver.
As the world adopts solar photovoltaics, silver could see dramatic demand coming from this form of renewable energy.
Silver in Electric Vehicles
Silver’s conductivity and corrosion resistance makes its use in electronics critical, and electric vehicles are no exception. Virtually every electrical connection in a vehicle uses silver.
Silver is a critical material in the automotive sector, which uses over 55 million ounces of the metal annually. Auto manufacturers apply silver to the electrical contacts in powered seats and windows and other automotive electronics to improve conductivity.
A Silver Intensive Future
A green future will require metals and will redefine the role for many of them. Silver is no exception. Long known as a precious metal, silver also has industrial applications metal for an eco-friendly future.
Accelerating a Net-Zero Future with Carbon Credits
To reach net-zero by 2050, trillions in annual investment will be required. Here’s how carbon credits help close this funding gap.
Accelerating a Net-Zero Future with Carbon Credits
Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement is critical, yet national climate pledges fall short.
To reach net-zero by 2050, immediate action and $9.2 trillion in annual investment is required, or about 7-9% of global GDP. This would be $3.5 trillion annually more than today, which in 2020 was equal to roughly:
- 50% of corporate profits
- 25% of tax revenues
- 7% of household spending
This infographic sponsored by Carbon Streaming Corporation shows how carbon credits can help accelerate a net-zero future by funding climate action.
Closing the Funding Gap With Carbon Credits
Carbon credits play a vital role in channelling finance to help close this funding gap. Here are some ways in which carbon credits can be used:
- Unabated Emissions: Compensate for unabated or residual emissions while prioritizing mitigation on a science-based pathway.
- Accelerate Global Transition: For beyond value chain mitigation to accelerate the global transition to net-zero.
- Sustainability Goals: Achieve sustainability goals beyond climate action e.g. preserving biodiversity and valuable ecosystems.
Thanks to a growing number of initiatives listed below, 2023 is anticipated to bring greater credibility and transparency to the carbon credit market.
- The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market
- Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
- Climate Action Data Trust
- Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative
Not Every Carbon Credit is Equal
Identifying high-quality carbon credits is important because not every type of credit offers the same scope of benefits. Carbon credit buyers look for credits that offer tangible benefits that go beyond CO₂ reduction or removal, such as:
- Advancing Sustainable Development Goals
- Creating jobs in local communities
- Protecting biodiversity
- Providing education and job training
Often, credits that offer these types of benefits command a price premium.
At the same time, demand for carbon credits is expected to increase. Within the decade, the value of the voluntary carbon market could grow from $2 billion up to $50 billion.
Voluntary carbon markets refer to the transactions in which carbon credits are purchased by corporate and other buyers that voluntarily (not required by a regulatory act) want to compensate for their emissions or advance sustainability goals.
|Voluntary Carbon Market Value||$2B||Up to $50B|
|Voluntary Carbon Market Volume||~500M tCO₂e||1.5-2B tCO₂e|
Source: Ecosystem Marketplace, McKinsey, UNFCCC
Today, over 8,300 corporate, 1,100 municipal, and 52 regional net-zero commitments are set to drive market growth.
Carbon Streaming’s Innovative Approach to Climate Action
Carbon Streaming is a publicly listed company that invests capital in high integrity carbon credit projects on a global scale. It uses the proven, flexible streaming model to create long-term partnerships.
This model aligns interests to benefit all stakeholders.
|Project Partners||Carbon Streaming||Credit Buyers|
|Delivers upfront cash|
for life of project
Sales channel to monetize
Maximum value sought for credit sales with a revenue share structure
Ability to create or accelerate tangible co-benefits
|Recurring credits received throughout the term|
No responsibility for operating or capital costs
Potential value appreciation with purchase terms set upfront
Established buffer pools
|Majority of purchase price flows to projects and local communities
Diverse and long-term supply of credits
Credits with additional sustainable benefits
Access to new project types as portfolio grows
Carbon Streaming’s growing portfolio of carbon credits includes over 20 projects across six different project types in 12 countries that aim to accelerate a net-zero future.
Transformative Year Ahead
By the end of 2023, carbon credits are expected to be issued from 10 or more projects.
Importantly, all of Carbon Streaming’s carbon projects aim to advance multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals. Carbon Streaming intends to continue growing and diversifying its portfolio while selling carbon credits received to maximize value for all stakeholders.
>>>Interested in learning more about Carbon Streaming? Click here to learn more.
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