Aug 19, 2019 | Updated: 03:06 PM EDT

Using Renewable Energy Could Pose Environmental Risks

Jun 02, 2019 12:10 AM EDT


SYDNEY, Australia -- As the Earth continues to go through the backlash that climate change has dealt, various personalities, organizations, and experts have been hard at work in searching for ways to cope with the said negative impacts. One concept that bears a huge amount of weight is the search for clean, renewable and sustainable energy resources.

Over a century has passed since the discovery of photovoltaic cells, yet, the technology has not been perfected to this date. Instead, a number of improvements and variants of renewable energy are being explored. It may sound like a perfect plan to solve the puzzle to a full-blown renewable energy system. However, as it is inevitable in many kinds of development, there are obstacles in the study of renewable energy that experts are looking to solve.

One of which is the need to establish or improve the energy storage of a renewable energy system. A new study postulates that striving to use renewable energy also has the potential to contribute to global warming. Experts explained that an increase in the use of renewable resources might require the use of batteries. The energy collected from solar panels and wind turbines needs to be stored in batteries for future use. Sadly, these batteries are made from materials that are simply unsustainable.

A new report from the researchers of the University of Sydney estimates that the production of batteries in the near future will demand an increase in the production of metal at least four times above what is needed now. The said amount would be more than what the Earth's reserves of metals could provide.

Countries all over the world who took participation in the Paris Agreement would be in dire need of "greener" batteries as they work hard to meet the demands set by the said agreement. The goal of all the countries in the Paris agreement was to be able to produce energy by using renewable sources and that the world should be dependent on such types of resources by the end of 2050. The findings of the study, however, indicates that the demand for the materials to produce the batteries will increase dramatically. In fact, it will exceed the amount of cobalt that is currently available in nature while it will consume as much as 86% of the available lithium on Earth.

Solar panels, phones, and wind turbines all use batteries to store the energy they collected. In the process, they use quite a number of metals in production. Copper, gallium, silver are just a few of the metals used to produce materials where energy can be stored. Evidently, the process of metal mining is just one of the things that remain to be an unsustainable practice in the industries. Unfortunately, there has not been concepts or studies that center on performing metal mining with the use of clean energy.

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