GLAND, Switzerland: A report from the WWF says the growing demand for renewable energy could put pressure on the supply of critical materials required in the production of a renewable energy infrastructure.
The WWF concludes it is possible for renewable energy to fuel the world if supply chain bottlenecks can be overcome by applying the right technologies.
In a nod to the reverse logistics industry, WWF's Global Climate & Energy Initiative leader Samantha Smith comments: "Energy conservation and energy efficiency as well as substantive enhancement of recycling and reuse of key materials are the bedrock conditions required to ensure the world has abundant supply of these minerals."
WWF Global Energy Policy director Stephan Singer adds the growing demand for mobile phones, flat screen TVs, computers and batteries is leading to increased competition for the same materials used in the renewables sector.
To avoid a growing supply chain bottleneck, Singer says major economies need to promote material recycling and drive substantial technological development to ensure critical materials remain available.
The WWF reports says recycling and reuse is the best way to avoid the most critical supply bottlenecks of raw materials such as lithium and cobalt – currently used in electric vehicles.
Ecofys director of Science Kornelis Blok, responsible for the research, adds: "The report provides important guidance to technology and system suppliers. It may help them to make the right choices in making their products future-proof."