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Ina Meyer, Mark Sommer, Silvia Scherhaufer, Florian Part, Peter Beigl
The Role of Secondary Resources in the Austrian Energy Transition
in: Konferenzbeitrag "41st Annual International Energy Workshop"
Book chapters, contributions to collected volumes, February 2023
A concerted worldwide effort to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement brings about a substantial increase in raw material demand for the production and deployment of clean energy technologies. Yet, raw materials required for the energy transition show high emissions intensities in mining and production. Producing secondary resources, in particular metals and critical raw materials (CRMs) like rare earth metals, from recycling End-of-Life (EoL) waste streams of PV panels, e-vehicles, and wind turbines (PEW) involves substantially less energy input than converting it from ore. With this background the aim of our project was 1) to quantify the potential of EoL waste streams of PEW, including the CRMs for recycling, 2) to project the future secondary resource potential assuming a decarbonising scenario of the Austrian economy, and 3) to assess the economic impacts from potential recycling loops using the macroeconomic model WIFO.DYNK. Results show that from an investor's point of view, recycling plants appear not profitable under the selected price assumptions. Introducing a minimum "gate-fee" for EoL waste streams can yet ensure the profitability and investments for recycling plants. From a macroeconomic perspective, recycling of EoL PEW devices generates value-added, employment as well as dividends in climate mitigation and resource or energy security.
Keywords:carbon neutrality, circular economcy, recycling, renewable energy technologies, economic impact analysis, critical raw materials
Research group:Climate, Environmental and Resource Economics