According to a report by ADEME , the earths are not so rare. Especially in photovoltaic or solar energy and battery technologies are not widely used. Despite their name, they are not that rare.
he rare earth consumption in the area of the generation of renewable energies is mainly due to the use of permanent magnets for offshore wind energy, which are only used by a small part of the wind turbines on land (about 3% in France). The assessment of the mass of permanent magnets required for the entire French onshore wind farm, which was installed from 2000 to the end of 2018, shows amounts of neodymium and dysprosium, each accounting for less than 1.5% of the annual global market. Nevertheless, an offshore wind capacity of 120 GW worldwide and in terms of annual worldwide production is forecast in a 10-year horizon. For rare earths, demand accounts for less than 6% of annual neodymium production and more than 30% of annual dysprosium production.
In this context, at least one manufacturer already offers wind turbines that do not use permanent magnets for implantation at sea, knowing that there are alternatives: for example, asynchronous generators or synchronous generators without permanent magnets.
Currently marketed photovoltaic solar technologies do not use rare earths. Of the commonly used batteries, only nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries contain a rare earth alloy on the cathode, but their use remains very low in the energy transition.
To the best of our knowledge, no other technology for the conversion of renewable energy uses significant amounts of rare earths.
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