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Raw Materials for Future Energy Supply

  • Book
  • © 2019


  • Covers primary and secondary resources and substitution, not only from technical but also socioeconomic and ethical points of view
  • Written in a simple, straightforward style
  • Illustrated with more than 50 color figures and 15 tables
  • Includes 15 info-boxes to explain important technical terms in more detail for non-specialists

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Table of contents (6 chapters)


About this book

This is the first book that analyses the future raw materials supply from the demand side of a society that chiefly relies on renewable energies, which is of great significance for us all. It addresses primary and secondary resources and substitution, not only from technical but also socioeconomic and ethical points of view.

The “Energiewende” (Energy Transition) will change our consumption of natural resources significantly. When in future our energy requirements will be covered mostly by wind, solar power and biomass, we will need less coal, oil and natural gas. However, the consumption of minerals, especially metallic resources, will increase to build wind generators, solar panels or energy storage facilities. Besides e.g. copper, nickel or cobalt, rare earth elements and other high-tech elements will be increasingly used. With regard to primary metals, Germany is 100 % import dependent; only secondary material is produced within Germany. Though sufficient geological primary resources exist worldwide, their availability on the market is crucial. The future supply of the market is dependent on the development of prices, the transparency of the market and the question of social and ethical standards in the raw materials industry, as well as the social license to operate, which especially applies to mining. The book offers a valuable resource for everyone interested in the future raw material supply of our way of life, which will involve more and more renewable energies.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Academy of Geosciences and Geotechnology, Hannover, Germany

    Friedrich-W. Wellmer

  • German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA), Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Berlin, Germany

    Peter Buchholz

  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), Helmholtz Institute for Resource Technology (HIF), Freiberg, Germany

    Jens Gutzmer

  • Umicore AG & Co KG, Hanau, Germany

    Christian Hagelüken

  • GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany

    Peter Herzig

  • Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

    Ralf Littke

  • Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany

    Rudolf K. Thauer

About the authors

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c.mult Friedrich-Wilhelm is the retired president of the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources, BGR, the Federal German Geological Survey, and the Lower Saxony State Geological Survey. He also served as president of the Academy of Geosciences and Geotechnology and was Visiting Professor at LE STUDIUM, the Loire Valley Institute of Advanced Studies, Orléans/France (Chair “Sustainable Management of Natural Resources”). Before joining the BGR he explored for non-ferrous and precious metal deposits in Europe, North and South America, Australia and SE-Asia for Metallgesellschaft AG, the largest German non-ferrous mining company. His last position was Director of Exploration in Australia, a task interrupted for three years while working for the German Ministry of Economics in the natural resources division. Wellmer also taught raw materials policy and economic geology at the Technical University Berlin. He was awarded honorary doctorates of the Technical Universities of Clausthal and Freiberg/Saxony, the two top German natural resources universities, and the Georg-Agricola-Denkmünze (medal), the highest award of the German mining industry.

Dr. Peter Buchholz  As an economic geologist, Peter Buchholz has been with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) since 2005, and since 2012 he is heading the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA) at the BGR. The main focus of DERA’s work is to provide market intelligence to assess potential price and supply risks in raw material markets as well as to develop mitigation strategies for the German industry to diversify supply sources. Before his time at the BGR he worked in the fields of ore deposit research, exploration and commodity trading. In 1995 he completed his PhD on Archaean gold deposits at the RWTH Aachen. Subsequently, he worked as assistant professor at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, and from 1998 to 2002 asdirector of the M.Sc. Programme in Exploration Geology at the University of Zimbabwe, after which he joined a commodity trading company. His research and entrepreneurial work has been awarded nationally and internationally.

Prof. Dr. (PhD ZA) Jens Gutzmer is the founding director of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology. He is professor of economic geology and petrology at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany and a visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Born and raised in Lower Saxony, Germany, Jens Gutzmer received his Diplom in Mineralogy from the Technical University of Clausthal-Zellerfeld (Germany) in 1993, followed by a PhD in Geology from the Rand Afrikaans University (South Africa) in 1996. In 2005 he was appointed Full Professor of Geology at the University of Johannesburg, followed by a South African Research Chair in Geometallurgy in January 2008. He defines himself as an economic geologist with a keen interest in geometallurgy and metallogenetic processes during early evolution of the Earth System.

Dr. Christian Hagelüken is Director of EU Government Affairs at Umicore, with a focus on raw materials related topics. Between 2003 and 2011 he was head of Business Development in Umicore’s Precious Metals Refining business unit. Previously he had held various management positions in the precious metals department of Degussa AG. Christian has over 25 years’ experience in (precious) metals recycling and sustainable metals management and has made numerous contributions to professional books, journals and conferences. He represents Umicore in related policy initiatives, associations, expert groups and scientific panels, among others the UNEP Resource Panel, the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials, the German acatech working group on resources for energy applications, and the German National Platform for Electromobility. Christian holds university degrees in mining engineering and industrial engineering from RWTH Aachen, Germany, where he also received his Ph.D. in 1991. 

Professor Dr. Peter M. Herzig is the Executive Director of GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel. He also serves as Maritime Coordinator of the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein and was appointed Maritime Ambassador of the European Commission in 2007. He is a member of several national, European and international boards and committees, and was a Senator of the German Science Foundation from 2005 to 2011. In 2000 Professor Herzig received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award of the German Science Foundation and in 2010 he was awarded the Medal of Merit of the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein. In October 2015 he received the First Class Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Professor Herzig obtained his Ph.D. in Economic Geology from Aachen University of Technology in 1986. Followingan Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto, he obtained a Research Associate and Assistant Professorship at Aachen and was a Visiting Professor at the Geological Survey of Canada. From 1993–2003, Professor Herzig was Full Professor and Chair of Economic Geology at Freiberg University of Mining and Technology in Germany and served as Dean of the Faculty for Geosciences, Geo-Engineering and Mining from 1997–1999. Following a Visiting Professorship at the Southampton Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom, he became Full Professor at the University of Kiel in 2003.

Dr. Gerhard Angerer studied physics at the Technical University of Karlsruhe, where he was also awarded a doctorate. He commenced his professional career in energy research at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), and then transferred to the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). His scientific portfolio includes innovationresearch and advice focused on technology analysis, technology evaluation, prediction of new technology, structure of the technology transition, assessment of technological change, life-cycle analyses, natural resource economics, material efficiencies, the recycling economy, environmental protection and energy efficiency in industrial process technologies, and the economics of sustainability. He has evaluated government innovation programs to support the international competitiveness of the national economy, and drafted business innovation strategies for the security and improvement of competitiveness. Since attaining retirement age, Dr. Angerer remains active as an independent consultant. Dr. Angerer is the author of numerous scientific publications and predictive studies. These include the study “Resources for Technologies of the Future” in which, for the first time, the fundamentals of the future resource requirements in the national economy were analysed and evaluated in detail. He contributed to the “Energy Systems of the Future I and II” projects by German engineering sciences that were coordinated by acatech, and advised the Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH on the focus for the Automechanika Innovation Awards. Dr. Angerer was a scientific advisor for the BDI Environment Prize, the German Innovation Prize for Climate and Environment (IKU) and the US-American journal “Ecological Economics”.

Professor Dr. Ralf Littke holds the Chair of Geology and Geochemistry of Petroleum and Coal at RWTH Aachen University. Between 2002 and 2008 he initiated and coordinated the priority program “Sedimentary Basin Dynamics. The Example of the Central European Basin System” that was funded by the German Science Foundation DFG. He was a member of science advisory boards of both the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) and International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), and a member of several other national and international boards and committees as well as science academies. He was president of the German Geological Union (Geologische Vereinigung) and chairman of the science advisory board of the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ Potsdam). He obtained his PhD in geology at Ruhr University Bochum in 1985, and worked 12 years in the Institute of Petroleum and Organic Geochemistry at the Federal Research Center Jülich. In 1997, he became full professor at RWTH Aachen University, where he also served as dean and senator of the Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering.

Professor Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h.c. mult. Rudolf Kurt Thauer, born 1939 in Frankfurt/Main, is Emeritus Professor at the Philipps-Universität Marburg, where he taught Microbiology from 1976 to 2005. From 1991 to 2007 he was a Director of the newly-founded Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg. After his retirement end of 2007, he continued to workat the Max Planck Institute as a research group leader until end of 2014. His main scientific interest is the biochemistry, physiology and ecology of strictly anaerobic microorganisms with a focus on their energy metabolism. His group was involved in many discoveries, amongst others that anaerobic bacteria and archaea require nickel for the synthesis of hydrogenases, carbon monoxide dehydrogenase and methyl-coenzyme M reductase, that coenzyme F430 in methanogenic archaea  is a nickel tetrapyrrole, that CO is an intermediate in CO2 reduction to acetyl-CoA in acetogens and anaerobic chemoautotrophs, that methanotrophic aerobic bacteria use cofactors and enzymes previously thought to be specific for methanogenic archaea, and that endergonic and exergonic redox processes in anaerobes can be coupled by a novel mechanism dubbed flavin-based electron bifurcation. For his work he received numerous awards (Warburg Medal 1984, Leibniz Preis 1987, Carus Medal 1992, Marjory Stephenson PrizeLecture 1998, Gauss Medal 2008, Leopoldina Merit Medal 2013) and honors (Honorary doctor degrees from the ETH Zürich 2001, University of Freiburg 2007 and University of Waterloo 2007). Since 1984 he is a member of the German National Academy of Science Leopoldina, and was member of its Presidium 2005-2010.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Raw Materials for Future Energy Supply

  • Authors: Friedrich-W. Wellmer, Peter Buchholz, Jens Gutzmer, Christian Hagelüken, Peter Herzig, Ralf Littke, Rudolf K. Thauer

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Earth and Environmental Science, Earth and Environmental Science (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-91228-8Published: 09 July 2018

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-08203-1Published: 20 December 2018

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-91229-5Published: 25 June 2018

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXX, 225

  • Number of Illustrations: 53 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Economic Geology, Renewable and Green Energy, Energy Materials, Biogeosciences

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