Which Gold Miners Hold The Most Supply?
Why Copper and Nickel Are the Key Metals for Energy Utopia
With more renewables and EVs plugging into the grid, copper and nickel are essential building blocks for the energy transition.
Copper and Nickel: The Key Metals for Energy Utopia
The raw materials required to transport and store clean energy are critical for the energy transition. Copper and nickel are two such metals.
Copper is essential for the transmission and distribution of clean electricity, while nickel powers lithium-ion batteries for EVs and energy storage systems.
The above infographic sponsored by CanAlaska Uranium explores how copper and nickel are enabling green technologies and highlights why they are essential for a utopian energy future.
Copper: Transporting Clean Energy
When it comes to conducting electricity, copper is second only to silver. This property makes it an indispensable building block for multiple energy technologies, including:
- Electric vehicles: On average, a typical electric car contains 53kg of copper, primarily found in the wirings and car components.
- Solar power: Solar panels use 2.8 tonnes of copper per megawatt (MW) of installed capacity, mainly for heat exchangers, wiring, and cabling.
- Wind energy: Onshore wind turbines contain 2.9 tonnes of copper per MW of capacity. Offshore wind turbines, which typically use copper in undersea cables, use 8 tonnes per MW.
- Power grids: Copper, alongside aluminum, is the preferred choice for electric transmission and distribution networks due to its reliability and efficiency.
BloombergNEF projects that, due to its expansive role in clean energy, the demand for copper from clean energy applications will double by 2030 from 2020 levels. The table below compares annual copper demand from clean energy, in tonnes, in 2020 vs. 2030:
|Year||Power Grids||EV batteries||Wind||Solar||EV charging||Total
Although power grids will account for the largest portion of annual copper demand through 2030, EV batteries are projected to spearhead the growth.
Nickel: Powering Lithium-ion Batteries
Nickel is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries for EVs and stationary energy storage systems. For EVs, nickel-based cathodes offer more energy density and longer driving ranges as compared to cathodes with lower nickel content.
According to Wood Mackenzie, batteries could account for 41% of global nickel demand by 2030, up from just 7% in 2021.
|End-use||2021 % of Nickel Demand||2040P % of Nickel Demand|
Nickel-based cathodes for lithium-ion batteries, including NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) and NCA (Nickel Cobalt Aluminum), are prevalent in EVs and make up more than 50% of the battery cathode chemistry market.
A Bright Future for Copper and Nickel
Both copper and nickel are essential building blocks of EVs and other key technologies for the energy transition and ultimately energy utopia.
As more such technologies are deployed, these metals are likely to be in high demand, with clean energy applications supplementing their existing industrial uses.
CanAlaska is a leading exploration company with a strategic portfolio of uranium, nickel, and copper projects in North America. Click here to learn more.
You may also like
Urbanization3 weeks ago
Ranked: The World’s Biggest Steel Producers, by Country
China has dominated global steel production the past few decades, but how did the country get here, and is its production growth over?
Central Banks3 months ago
Charted: 30 Years of Central Bank Gold Demand
Globally, central banks bought a record 1,136 tonnes of gold in 2022. How has central bank gold demand changed over the last three decades?
Energy4 months ago
Visualizing U.S. Consumption of Fuel and Materials per Capita
Wealthy countries consume large amounts of natural resources per capita, and the U.S. is no exception. See how much is used per person.
Commodities5 months ago
The Periodic Table of Commodity Returns (2013-2022)
This table shows the fluctuating returns for various commodities over the past decade, from energy fuels to industrial and precious metals.
Batteries5 months ago
Visualizing 25 Years of Lithium Production, by Country
Lithium production has grown exponentially over the last few decades. Which countries produce the most lithium, and how how has this mix evolved?
Mining6 months ago
Ranked: The World’s Largest Copper Producers
Many new technologies critical to the energy transition rely on copper. Here are the world’s largest copper producers.
VC+4 weeks ago
Coming Soon: Here’s What’s Coming to VC+ Next
Maps1 week ago
Mapped: Renewable Energy and Battery Installations in the U.S. in 2023
Demographics3 weeks ago
Visualizing the American Workforce as 100 People
Technology1 week ago
Nvidia Joins the Trillion Dollar Club
Energy3 weeks ago
How EV Adoption Will Impact Oil Consumption (2015-2025P)
Countries6 days ago
Comparing Population Pyramids Around the World
Wealth3 weeks ago
Ranked: The World’s Top 50 Endowment Funds
Green4 days ago
Ranked: The 20 Most Air-Polluted Cities on Earth