Mineral and energy resource systems for resilient, sustainable societies

Project abstract:

The large-scale development and diffusion of climate change mitigation technologies are urgently required in our society. Of the several technological options available, solar power and geothermal as sources, in combination with energy carriers such as hydrogen, with fuel cells and batteries for storage, have much potential to contribute to the realization of a low-carbon energy system. On the other hand, these new technologies require additional mineral resources such as precious metals and can cause various negative impacts to the global environment. These include the depletion of limited mineral resources, degradation of water bodies, stress on land surface areas, and the creation of toxic waste products (e.g. used batteries and solar panels). In addition to these challenges, especially in the context of Japan and experiences learned from the tsunami and power shortages after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, there is an urgent need to boost the resilience of energy systems. This is required as much for the purpose of strengthening resilience towards natural disasters as it is for decreasing vulnerability to supply chain risks for the precious minerals used in manufacturing low-carbon technologies. Furthermore, countries like Germany are faced with new challenges around grid stability and resilience due to the increased penetration of intermittent renewables.

Given these pressing challenges, this working group will consider the following three topics:
1.      R&D for future energy technologies
2.      Resources for sustainable energy
3.      Policy and social governance of energy systems

Lead coordinator:

Name:  Kazuyo Matsubae
Institution:  Tohoku University
Department, Faculty: Graduate School of Environmental Studies


Other coordinator(s):  

Name:  Witold-Roger Poganietz (Confirmed)
Position: Head of research group “Socio-Technical Energy Futures”
Institution: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Department, Faculty:  Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse

Name:  Benjamin-craig McLellan (Confirmed)
Position: Associate Professor
Institution: Kyoto University
Department, Faculty:  Graduate School of Energy Science