The Role of the Chemical Sciences in Finding Alternatives to Critical Resources: A Workshop Summary (2012)Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology
Critical elements, including rare earths, precious metals, and other rare elements of the periodic table, are used in essentially all electronic devices and in many other everyday applications, including catalytic converters and photovoltaic technologies. Widespread concern over their future availability led the Chemical Sciences Roundtable to convene a workshop on the role of the chemical sciences in finding alternatives to these critical resources. Speakers considered a matrix of economic and political factors for assessing criticality and highlighted the importance of the chemical sciences in research on their properties and applications and on the chemistry of possible replacements. Prospects considered included the use of abundant metals in electrocatalytic applications and the potential of various materials to support large-scale, on-the-grid energy storage.