Investigation of the Sufficiency of Minerals and the Replacement of Fossil Fuels Continues

Over the past few years, Simon Michaux, Associate Research Professor at the Geological Survey of Finland, has collected and analysed a large amount of global data related to the transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon solutions. The purpose of the work is to produce unbiased information to support decision-making and discussion, and to increase awareness of various interdependencies. Outlining the whole formed by the material and energy system is a major effort, for which we have now introduced our own preliminary observations. Clarifying the picture requires cooperation with various actors in the field and refining observations into scientific publications. This follow-up work is currently in progress.

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However, there is no ambiguity about the connection between energy transition and growing material needs (including various minerals extracted from bedrock and other raw materials and secondary raw materials) , and addressing challenges requires a systemic global perspective. The necessary additional energy and materials can form a bottleneck even if we could reduce consumption and the need for materials through the circular economy and regulation.

This was revealed in Associate Research Professor Simon Michaux’s research report titled ‘Assessment of the Extra Capacity Required of Alternative Energy Electrical Power Systems to Completely Replace Fossil Fuels’, which was published in August 2021.

“The theme is very topical, systemic and broad.  Solving problems requires cooperation. That is why we already wanted to bring the results of the first investigations widely to the fore and for discussion. The solutions consist of several entities. GTK’s special area of expertise is mineral, raw material and energy issues, which we also strive to keep at the core of this entity,” says Saku Vuori, Director, Science and Innovations.

Michaux approached the topic from the source of the information by compiling material about the mileage of different combustion engine powered vehicles in order to estimate the amount of electricity needed for a corresponding performance in fully electrified traffic. Through the electrification of different sectors, an effort was made to create an overall picture of how much batteries, hydrogen, biofuels, solar panels and wind turbines would be needed for our current system (including the energy, transport and manufacturing sectors) to completely abandon the use of fossil fuels.

Based on the research results, GTK has published the website “It’s Time to Wake Up”, which provides information on the topic. The goal of the website is to provide background information and bring the topic to the fore and for wider discussion.

Cooperation has already been pursued last spring, for example, when Simon Michaux, Tere Vadén from the BIOS research unit, Janne M. Korhonen from LUT University and Jussi T. Eronen from the University of Helsinki and the BIOS research unit published a report on Finland’s options.

Further information

Simon P. Michaux, Associate Research Professor
tel. +358 29 503 2158

Saku Vuori, Director, Science and Innovations
tel. +358 29 503 2459