Recycling in Supply Chains for Tomorrow’s Low-Carbon Industries

  • Adam C. PowellEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series book series (MMMS)


Metal production and recycling technology changes are urgently needed to confront multiple simultaneous grand challenges in society. Energy production and distribution and transportation are undergoing disruptive transformations, and industry will follow. Unlike prior disruptions, such as the Internet and biotech, this will up-end material and energy flows around the planet. Due to both heightened awareness of climate impacts and plunging costs of sustainable technology, fossil energy and metals technologies which took 250 years to reach planet-wide industrial ubiquity must be swept aside and replaced in 2–3 decades. This talk will present energy industry scenarios and discuss new supply chains which will need to emerge in order to support these scenarios, the role which recycling must play in order to make these new supply chains themselves sustainable, and the timescales in which these changes need to happen, in order to meet targets for preventing large-scale climate disruption.


Recycling Greenhouse emissions Solar Wind Electric vehicles 


  1. 1.
    Bruckner T et al (2014) Energy systems (Chapter 7). In: Edenhofer O et al (eds) Climate change 2014: contribution of working group III to the fifth assessment report of the IPCC. Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bloomberg New Energy Finance (2018) New energy outlook 2018, Bloomberg, June 2018.
  3. 3.
    DNV GL (2018) Energy transition outlook, 10 September 2018.
  4. 4.
  5. 5.
    Clack CTM et al (2018) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114(26):6722. Scholar
  6. 6.
    Olivetti EA, Ceder G, Gaustad GG, Fu X (2017) Joule 1:229. Scholar
  7. 7.
    Spector J (2018) Mark Jacobson drops Lawsuit against critics of his 100% renewables plan, 26 February 2018. Greentech MediaGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Myles Allen et al (2018) Global warming of 1.5 °C. IPCC special report 15, 8 October 2018.
  9. 9.
    Bernreuter Research (2016) The Polysilicon market outlook 2020, 24 November 2016.
  10. 10.
    Vogel H, Friedrich B (2018) In light metals. In: O. Martin (ed) TMS. Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nicola, Bermann (2018) Peak car and the end of an industry. BNEFGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hobson P (2018) Electric cars no game changer for copper in short term. ReutersGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Skszek T, Conklin J, Wagner D, Zaluzec M (2015) Multi-material lightweight vehicles. Presented at US Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies annual merit review, 11 June 2015.
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
    Gløckner R, de Wild-Scholten M (2012) Energy payback time and carbon footprint of Elkem solar silicon. In: Proceedings of the European PV conference and exhibition, pp 4661–4666.
  16. 16.
    Olivetti EA, Cullen JM (2018) Science 360:1396. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA

Personalised recommendations