Critical Elements and Minerals
The Department of Energy (DOE) determines whether a material is critical or not by considering its importance to clean energy applications, as well as any supply challenges, such as a small global market, lack of supply diversity, market complexities caused by co-production, or geopolitical risks.
A materials shortage—exhibited through physical unavailability of a material, or high or volatile prices—may inhibit the widespread deployment of modern energy technologies. A variety of critical materials enable clean energy technologies such as photovoltaics, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting. These clean energy technologies in turn reduce carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.
The European Commission of Shortlisted Raw Materials has categorized the key elements for energy-related technologies by their degree of criticality. Their findings are summarized in the table below.