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Article | Nuclear energy | Technical and economic aspects of energy

Key materials for the energy transition


Published on 15 December 2023

Objective: Understand the interconnected cycles of strategic raw materials to navigate the energy transition more effectively.

This research is conducted with  l'ISECthe CEA’s institute specializing in science and technology to bring circular economy principles to low-carbon energy.

You cannot assess the potential of a new technology without addressing materials. At I-Tésé, our goal is to provide factual information about materials that will be critical to the energy transition. We also point out these materials' possible limits and investigate how they could be pushed back through recycling or the use of alternative technologies.


We would like to use the GRUS tool to test other key energy transition materials, such as cobalt, lithium, platinum, and materials used in magnets, that could also be affected by shortages.


We are already working on cobalt and lithium with ISEC. Our goal is to capitalize on our knowledge of system dynamics and ISEC's knowledge of energy transition metals, recycling, and the associated data. The modeling techniques we are using will factor in time data at each step (the time it takes to open a mine, to extract and refine resources, and to recycle materials, for example) and to introduce new parameters to reflect regulations and other uses for the materials being studied. 

Our research will involve: 

  • Determining the scope of the materials cycle to be considered for the purposes of the study.
  • Gathering quantitative data for the development of scenarios.
  • Modeling interacting systems using predator-prey models (system dynamics).
  • Analyzing the sensitivity of different scenarios to identify key parameters and associated impacts.