The entire energy transition needs metals increasingly, says Allseas’ Pieter Heerema
To combat climate change, the energy mix must shift from a mix that is dominated by fossil fuels, oil & gas, coal, to an energy mix that depends more on clean energy production methods. The good thing is that everyone is committed to achieving this goal. The challenge that comes with this is that a lot more critical raw materials are required to produce the clean energy applications we need.
At the Providing the metals needed to electrify the energy mix session that took place in Amsterdam at the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference (OEEC), Allseas President Pieter Heerema, Sabine Gollner, Senior Scientist Ocean Systems at The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Jeff Amrish Ritoe, Strategic Advisor Energy & Raw Materials at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS), took the stage to discuss critical raw materials demand.
Critical materials – such as cobalt, manganese, lithium, nickel, and graphite – are the “hot topic” at the moment and the question to be answered is how we can get them in the quickest and most efficient way, but also in a way that is sustainable and does not destroy our planet.
There are three types of deepsea mining. The focus is on nodule collection which is the least invasive one, while the two other kinds are much less tested or researched.
Pieter Heerema from Allseas, an offshore partner of The Metals Company, stated that mining is not without impact at all but that the entire energy transition needs these metals increasingly: “There is no zero-impact mining. It does not exist. Given everything, given the ecological impact, given the societal impact, given the environmental impact, we believe that this is the form that has much lower impact than all the other alternatives.”
Sabine Gollner explains that probably the largest impact is the removal of the nodule itself. The ecosystem will change to a different state as high diversity has been confirmed with many unknown species.
“In the last five years, more than 5,000 new species were discovered, and this is not the end, it is just the beginning. So we have a really hyper-diverse ecosystem down there, and it is very important to remember this,” Gollner said.
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