Renewable tech relies on commodities
Society is becoming increasingly reliant on 'smart' and advanced technologies that make our lives more convenient . Whether it's a new smart phone, tablet, television or computer, communities are demanding 'more' and 'better'.
As well as this, energy technology is moving towards cleaner and renewable alternatives such as solar and wind power, to counter high electricity prices and to protect the environment from harmful carbon emissions.
However, all this technology doesn't just spring up out of nowhere - various kinds of resources and commodities are used to create it.
On this note, minister for resources and energy Gary Gray said on July 17 that Australia has the potential to play a major role in meeting global demand for the commodities that are used for these advanced and high-tech applications. Some of these include smart phones, renewable energy generation and electric cars.
"Many people don't realise that everyday devices such as smart phones and flat screen televisions, as well as renewable and low-emissions energy technologies like wind power and electric cars, depend on key 'critical' commodities," said Mr Gray.
Commodities tend to be minerals, such as indium, which is a metal used in smart phones, tablets and flat screen televisions. Australia has vast mineral resources, and therefore has the potential to be a significant power in supplying these to the global market.
Five of the commodities with high potential to be found and produced in Australia, listed in Geoscience Australia's report 'Critical commodities for a high-tech world: Australia's potential to supply global demand,' were also listed as being critical resources for the European Union, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. If Australia could develop and harness the production of these commodities there would be great international export opportunities.
Mr Gray also said that there is potential to discover and develop new critical commodity deposits. As well as this, he was hopeful of an opportunity to produce these from existing mineral refining processes.
Nickel, platinum group elements and chromium are some of the resources with potential for new deposits. At the moment Australia doesn't have a platinum group element export industry; however, the global market is worth over six billion dollars and growing. There is plenty of demand for platinum due to the car industry (including electric cars), so it could be a promising sector for Australia.
Posted by Charlie Moore