The transition to Net Zero will require substantial quantities of critical materials in order to build and maintain new technologies, from renewable generation to batteries for electric vehicles. Materials such as lithium will be required in much larger quantities than before, while novel materials may need to be developed to replace expensive or scarce conventional materials.

This Briefing Paper considers the availability and development of materials for the energy sector, investigating both current availability and forecasted production of several critical materials and looking at the state of development of novel materials in the energy sector. Four materials considered critical to new energy technologies and the low-carbon transition were investigated based on known reserves and projected future demand: lithium, cobalt, tellurium and copper. These materials were selected to illustrate the key themes that relate to concerns over the demand and supply of those metals and other materials that will be required for the transition to a global low-carbon energy system. 

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Suggested citation:

Rhodes, A., Heptonstall, P., and Speirs, J. (2002) Materials for Energy, An Energy Futures Lab Briefing paper, Imperial College London. Available at: