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Unobtanium? Critical Elements for New Energy Technologies

Stanford Video

A number of chemical elements that were once laboratory curiosities now figure prominently in new technologies like wind turbines, solar energy collectors, and electric cars. If widely deployed, such inventions have the capacity to transform the way we produce, transmit, store, and conserve energy. A shortage of these “energy‐critical elements” could significantly inhibit the adoption of otherwise game-changing energy technologies, limiting the competitiveness of U.S. industries and the domestic scientific enterprise. The geology of mineral deposits, metallurgy, and mining engineering, while commonly thought of as “yesterday’s fields of research,” are now critical if we are to sustainably develop technologies to meet tomorrow’s energy needs.