The transition to clean energy is going to radically increase demand for a key set of minerals, many of which are mined today in social & environmentally destructive ways. In recent years, attention has turned to the floor of the Pacific Ocean, where those minerals are found in abundance. I talk with journalist Daniel Ackerman about the opportunities & dangers of deep-sea mining.
So glad you're giving Dan some more airtime. If anyone wants to dig deeper, I ran a boisterous conversation with Dan plus the seabed-focused journalists Jael Holzman and Olive Hefferman and the CEO from Impossible Metals https://www.linkedin.com/video/event/urn:li:ugcPost:6985376578817957888/
Great podcast, David!
Another thing to keep in mind is that there is going to be a non-zero carbon emissions cost to even deep seabed mining, and particularly in the refining and transportation of the refined metals to the points of manufacture. Is it that cost still better than not making the transition? I am sure it is. BUT (the big BUT) it is still going to take a lot more carbon emissions to get us to even a lower carbon future. Rebuilding, maintaining, and replacing grid components may take a certain amount of fossil outlay for quite some time. Can the Earth afford that additional carbon in the atmosphere? At this point we are just guessing.
Sorry about How to Save a Planet. I wish they didn't move to Spotify... that's when it disappeared from my view.
In the beginning of the podcast, the materials to make solar cells (& panels) was mentioned. Silicon solar cells are the most common type of solar cell. The materials for these cells are Silicon, Boron, Phosphorus, and Aluminum. Si is produced from heating magnesium and sand. Boron is found predominately in the California Mojave Desert. Phosphorus is mined all around the world. Aluminum is mined all over the world; and in the U.S.A. the EPA and VAIP are working on a process electrode to eliminate CO2 from aluminum production. Solar panels last for 20 years, so it is well worth the energy needed to produce them.
The CIA cover story of using Howard Hughes to hide a submarine recovery operation is hilarious.
Thanks for the deep dive (sorry about that). One quibble… you and your guest never referred to the demand for stationary batteries. Without stationary batteries, we have no chance of decarbonizibg the grid.; we need to be able to meet the demand for clean energy when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.