Energy-Related Metals and Minerals

According the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), “Modern energy technologies – both new energy sources and novel ways to store, transmit, transform, and conserve energy – are enabled by the unique chemical and physical properties of a multitude of specific materials.” The DOE has identified a total of 31 of these energy-related elements. The table below indicates some of the energy-related applications for these elements.

Applications Technologies Key elements
Vehicules EV-NiMH, EV-Li Ion, Fuel Cells, Permanent magnets, Batteries, Catalytic converters, Vehicle lightweighting Lithium, Cobalt, Cerium, Dysprosium, Lanthanum, Neodynium, Neodymium, Nickel, Praseodymium, Terbium, Yttrium, Gadolinium, Titanium
Storage Batteries Lithium, cobalt, cerium, nickel, terbium
Wind Direct Drive (Permanent magnets) Dysprosium, Neodymium, Praseodymium, Terbium
Lighting Fluorescent, LED Cerium, Europium, Gallium, Lanthanum, Nickel, Silver, Terbium, Yttrium
Photovoltaics Silicon, CIGS, CdTe Gallium, Nickel, Silver
Power Generation Gas turbines, Hydrogen electrolysis, Thermoelectrics, Fuel cells Yttrium, Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium, Cerium, Cobalt, Hafnium, Lanthanum, Ytterbium, Gadolinium
Source: DOE, 2015

Almost two-thirds (20 of the 31) of the key elements used in energy-related technology can be found on at least one of Matamec Energy’s properties. Here are the 11 that have yet to demonstrate a significant presence:

  • For vehicle applications : magnesium, manganese
  • For storage applications : graphite, manganese, vanadium
  • For lighting applications: tin, germanium, indium
  • For photovoltaic applications: tin, indium, tellurium
  • For power generation applications: rhenium, tellurium, bismuth and lead

Some of these metals and minerals are scarcer and more essential than others, and they are considered by the DOE to be critical. For more details, see Critical Elements and Metals. Rare earth elements (REEs) are especially important in the development of energy-related technologies. For more information about REEs, please see Rare Earths.