Critical Materials

Over the past decade, raw material price spikes have called attention to the supply security of a variety of critical materials, including rhenium, rare earth elements, and helium. While market forces play an important role in creating and resolving these situations, transitions in technology also create step-changes in demand that increase or decrease the criticality of different materials. With an appropriate understanding of how materials are used in various applications, it is possible to explore the critical materials implications associated with the introduction of new technologies.
Over the past decade, raw material price spikes have called attention to the supply security of a variety of critical materials, including rhenium, rare earth elements, and helium. While market forces play an important role in creating and resolving these situations, transitions in technology also create step-changes in demand that increase or decrease the criticality of different materials. With an appropriate understanding of how materials are used in various applications, it is possible to explore the critical materials implications associated with the introduction of new technologies.
The development of new high-efficiency magnets and/or electric traction motors using a limited amount of critical rare earths or none at all is crucial for the large-scale deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and related applications, such as hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and e-bikes. For these applications, we estimated the short-term demand for high-performing NdFeB magnets and their constituent rare earths: neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium. In 2020, EV, HEV and e-bike applications combined could require double the amount used in 2015.