Mineral raw material requirements and associated climate-change impacts of the French energy transition by 2050

Journal Article

Title: Mineral raw material requirements and associated climate-change impacts of the French energy transition by 2050
Publication Date:
January 20, 2019
Journal: Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume: 208
Pages: 1198-1205
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.

Document Access

Website: External Link

Citation

Beylot, A.; Guyonnet, D.; Müller, S.; Vaxelaire, S.; Villeneuve, J. (2019). Mineral raw material requirements and associated climate-change impacts of the French energy transition by 2050. Journal of Cleaner Production, 208, 1198-1205.
Abstract: 

In France, significant investments regarding renewable energy power plants will be required in future years in order to attain targets set by French and European regulations. This study aims i) at quantifying the requirements for steel, aluminium, copper (among the most impactful metal productions with respect to climate change in the world) and concrete resulting from the projected energy transition in France by 2050 (with a focus on the power sector) and ii) at estimating the climate change impacts associated with the production of these raw materials. As a basis to the modelling exercise, coefficients of material intensities of electricity generation systems were collected from the literature. Despite the variety of data sources, uncertainties regarding the information gathered on material intensity are of an epistemic nature, reflecting incompleteness. Therefore possibility theory was used to represent uncertainties relative to these parameters and to propagate uncertainty in the calculation. Results are expressed as upper and lower bounds on the probability that requirement for materials, and subsequent climate change impacts of their production, should be lower than a certain value. From these limiting bounds, values are derived for an 80% confidence index and put in perspective with current consumption of raw materials and greenhouse gas emissions of specific French economic activities. In particular, there is a 20% risk that requirements for steel be greater than 46,000 ktonnes (corresponding to 20 years of steel products consumption by the French automotive sector) and for aluminium be greater than 6360 ktonnes (21 years of aluminium consumption by the French building sector). Moreover, there is a 20% risk that the production of steel, copper, aluminium and concrete, as a response to the French energy transition, induces more than 445 million tonnes of CO2-eq. The results provide decision-makers with a basis to decide whether the calculated risks of raw material consumption and corresponding climate change impacts are acceptable, taking into account other types of activities.

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