Assessing with the WORLD6 Model, the Global Energy Use, CO2 Emissions and Water Use of Metals, Materials and Fossil Fuels Extraction and Production

by Harald Ulrik Sverdrup (presenting author), Anna Hulda Olafsdottir

University of Iceland, Iceland


The WORLD6 model was used to estimate the energy- and water use by the production of natural resources like metals (Fe, Mn, Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Pb, W, Nb, Mo, Re, Ta, Sn, Sb, Bi, Ge, Ga, Te, Se, Cd, In, Al, Ag, Au, Pt, Pd, Rh, Co, Li, REE), materials (phosphorus, sand, gravel, stone, concrete, plastics), and fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal). It was found that the extraction, processing and production of metals, materials, and fossil fuels require a significant part of the global total energy production and that this part is likely to increase in the future according to the simulations. The water use for the production of natural resources from the earth is very significant. The CO2 emission from the production was estimated and was found to be caused by both the energy required for processing and refining but also by the calcination of ores containing carbonate minerals. The authors show that an “Energiewende” type of operation on the global level is required to transit towards a sustainable world. These metal and materials are necessary for the transition to a carbon neutral approach to the transition to the circular economy. The authors demonstrate how this all is brought together in the Integrated Assessment Model WORLD6.