How are raw materials processed

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From a geological point of view, there are enough mineral raw materials. Since technological developments and the associated specific raw material requirements cannot usually be foreseen, they can nevertheless lead to price peaks and delivery bottlenecks in the supply of raw materials. In addition, access to metal raw materials is tending to become more difficult on the global raw material markets. For example, ever larger shares of the raw material supply for many raw materials go back to fewer and fewer companies and countries. This leads to a growing market concentration.

Raw material requirements for electromobility

To manufacture a car, you need numerous mineral raw materials or their refined products. These include steel, zinc and aluminum for the body and quartz for the windows. Some of the mineral raw materials required come from domestic deposits and from recycling; However, the automotive industry has to import numerous metal raw materials. In the course of the change towards electromobility, lithium-ion batteries are mostly used in modern electric vehicles. Lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite are primarily required for the batteries, while the rare earths neodymium and dysprosium are required for the electric motors and generators. With the increasing electrification of vehicles, the demand for copper also increases.

The forecast market ramp-up for electromobility will also have a significant impact on the demand for mineral raw materials. From a geological point of view, none of the raw materials required for the batteries are scarce. Whether there are enough raw materials for the predicted rapid increase in demand depends above all on whether the raw materials industry is able and willing to react to this development. A sudden increase in demand in particular can lead to short-term price and delivery risks, which in the medium to long term are offset by an increased supply of raw materials.

Raw material requirements for lightweight construction

Lightweight solutions are developed and used in particular in the aerospace industry, in automotive and mechanical engineering, in construction, but also in medical technology. Mineral raw materials such as aluminum, magnesium and titanium are of great importance for lightweight construction. If they are used, for example, in automobile construction, the vehicle weight is reduced and, as a result, the emissions during operation. In the field of electromobility, too, lightweight construction concepts can compensate for the higher weight of the traction battery and thus increase the range of the vehicles.

Raw material requirements for wind power

In the course of the energy transition, the German energy supply will be fundamentally changed. The technologies developed for this have a completely new need for mineral raw materials.

For example, the rare earths neodymium, presodymium and dysprosium are used as components of the permanent magnets in the generators for the large, low-maintenance offshore wind turbines. The base metals aluminum, copper and zinc as well as steel are also used in the construction of wind turbines.

In addition to imported metals, domestic raw materials are also used in modern wind turbines. For the foundations, mainly carbonate rocks and sand and gravel for the production of concrete are used. Domestic quartz sand as well as kaolin and carbonate rocks are required to manufacture glass fibers for the rotor blades.