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Copper and Nickel: The Key Metals for Energy Utopia

Apr 23, 2023

The raw materials required to transport and store clean energy are critical for the energy transition. Copper and nickel are two such metals.

Copper is essential for the transmission and distribution of clean electricity, while nickel powers lithium-ion batteries for EVs and energy storage systems.

The above infographic sponsored by CanAlaska Uranium explores how copper and nickel are enabling green technologies and highlights why they are essential for a utopian energy future.

When it comes to conducting electricity, copper is second only to silver. This property makes it an indispensable building block for multiple energy technologies, including:

BloombergNEF projects that, due to its expansive role in clean energy, the demand for copper from clean energy applications will double by 2030 from 2020 levels. The table below compares annual copper demand from clean energy, in tonnes, in 2020 vs. 2030:

Although power grids will account for the largest portion of annual copper demand through 2030, EV batteries are projected to spearhead the growth.

Nickel is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries for EVs and stationary energy storage systems. For EVs, nickel-based cathodes offer more energy density and longer driving ranges as compared to cathodes with lower nickel content.

According to Wood Mackenzie, batteries could account for 41% of global nickel demand by 2030, up from just 7% in 2021.

Nickel-based cathodes for lithium-ion batteries, including NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) and NCA (Nickel Cobalt Aluminum), are prevalent in EVs and make up more than 50% of the battery cathode chemistry market.

Both copper and nickel are essential building blocks of EVs and other key technologies for the energy transition and ultimately energy utopia.

As more such technologies are deployed, these metals are likely to be in high demand, with clean energy applications supplementing their existing industrial uses.

CanAlaska is a leading exploration company with a strategic portfolio of uranium, nickel, and copper projects in North America. Click here to learn more.

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Copper and Nickel: The Key Metals for Energy Utopia Copper: Transporting Clean Energy Electric vehicles: 53kg Solar power: 2.8 tonnes Wind energy: 2.9 tonnes 8 tonnes Power grids: Total (tonnes) 2,162,200 4,303,100 Nickel: Powering Lithium-ion Batteries 41% 50% A Bright Future for Copper and Nickel