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Endangered Elements Pose Threat To Green Energy

by Chris Rhodes | Feb 01, 2011
The January issue of Chemistry World includes a warning on impending shortages of certain elements. Among them are the rare earth elements, in particular neodymium, production of which, it is reckoned, will have to increase five times to build enough magnets for the number of wind-turbines deemed necessary for a fully renewable future. My rough calculations indicate that this would still take 50 – 100 years to implement, depending on exactly what proportion of the renewable electricity budget would be met from wind power, and if the manufacturing capacity and other resources of materials and energy needed for this Herculean task will prevail.

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