Solutions to produce clean energies are multiplying. And if they have a positive effect on the environment, some of them still have a heavy liability.
Climate change is forcing manufacturers to invent new technologies in order to make our way of life less polluting. Thus, the production of electricity, our movements, and our food consumption are now judged through the prism of their energy impact.
In recent years, the so-called “non-polluting” technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels, and electric cars have exploded. And while these have a lower ecological impact than traditional technologies, they are not completely neutral.
Heavy metals in wind turbines
Wind turbines, for example, provide renewable energy as they use wind, just as solar panels take advantage of sunlight. But if these technologies, once installed, seem to have a positive impact, that their manufacture, on the other hand, is very different.
Thus, solar panels are made from rare metal, silicon, whose extraction uses many complex chemical processes and requires to go for the metal in the middle of the rock. To do this, the use of machines operating with fossil fuels is necessary.
Likewise, magnets that rotate wind turbines are also made from rare metals, such as lutetium. To obtain a kilogram of this metal, 1,200 tons of rock must be extracted.