A system dynamics assessment of supply sufficiency for aerospace technology needs using WORLD6
Peter Schlyter1, Harald Ulrik Sverdrup2, Anna Hulda Olofsdottir2, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir3
1Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Sweden; 2Industrial Engineering, University of Iceland, Iceland; 3Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Iceland
The extraction, supply, market price and recycling of the metals used for superalloys were modelled using the systems dynamics model WORLD6.
Peak production per capita (Supply Security) and stock-in-use per capita (Utility of Use) as well as resource stock lifetime during self-supply (Conflict Resilience) have been looked at as key indicators.
The resource estimates made resulted in significantly larger estimates than previous studies for nickel, tantalum, niobium, wolfram, molybdenum, cobalt, rhenium, titanium, zirconium and hafnium. The study shows that while for some elements (Co, Nb, Ta, W, Ni, Re), the size of the extractable resource may pose a challenge For other elements the intricacies and interdependencies of production will provide challenging limitations (Co, Re, Hf). Resource stocks of key metals are asymmetrically distributed among the larger powers and their dependants, posing intricate strategic challenges for the future. Ultimately, future patterns of scarcity, in space and time, of key resources may jeopardize strategic supply advantages presently enjoyed by major state actors.
On the global scale, many of the key metals will run into hard scarcity around 2100 AD, where the amounts demanded simply cannot be delivered. The recycling rates are generally low for some of the key metals used in superalloys. This is contributing to shorter society service time that what could have been achieved otherwise. Both market mechanisms and other incentives through governance can be used for getting a better recycling of these important metals. Without these metals, several technologies will become difficult to produce, with serious implications for both military and civilian uses of high performance hardware. Additionally, increased competition between various technology sectors, e.g. aerospace, energy production and the IT-sectors.