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Critical Resources for Electricity based Transportation

Snjólaug Tinna Hansdóttir

Master Thesis - Environmental Engineering - 2016

The transportation sector today is mainly driven by fossil fuels. With increasing concern about fossil fuel depletion and rising awareness of the environmental impacts of CO2 emissions, electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining popularity. The future development of large-scale EV fleet depends heavily on different metals, that could be a constraining factor when the EV demand increases. Three future EV demand scenarios were developed and resource criticality assessment conducted to see which metals could be considered problematic, and possibly be a constraining factor for the wider deployment of electricity based transportation. The results show that cobalt, lithium, nickel and dysprosium found in EV batteries and electric motor ‘s magnets seem to cause the biggest problems mainly due to their geological supply risk. To reduce the EVs vulnerability to the supply risk of metals, battery recycling and possible material, and overall battery technology substitutes were found to be promising in lowering the effects of supply disruption.