Critical Raw Materials
CRMs in the European Union
Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) are those resources that are economically and strategically important for the European economy but have a high risk associated with their supply. Nowadays, the EU’s industry is highly dependent on imported critical raw materials, especially in strategic sectors such as renewable energy: there is an urgent need to create sustainable and resilient value chains in the EU.
Silicon value Chain in the EU
One of the most affected sectors under this point of view is the Silicon value chain: a strategic component for EU competitiveness, since it is one of the main elements used in the PV sector, which is fundamental to help Europe reach its climate’s targets. Nevertheless, its production is very emissive, as it’s mainly based on the carbothermic reduction process.
Global solar PV supply chain
- Only 32% of the Silicon used in Europe is produced within the EU: today, China is one of the most important investors in this field, with over 50 billion USD invested in new PV supply capacity. Moreover, the country hosts the world’s 10 top suppliers of solar PV manufacturing equipment.
- Solar PV products are a significant export for China: in 2021, the value of solar PV exports was over 30 billion USD. Under these conditions, the world will almost completely rely on China for the supply of key building blocks for solar panel production through 2025. Moreover, China is now the most cost-competitive location to manufacture all components of the solar PV supply chain.