Although COVID-19 has hit the global economy hard, a silver lining is emerging, at least for technology metals and rare earths. Two positive developments are perfectly matched: firstly, the major stimulus packages with a focus on innovative technologies, and secondly, the progress that has recently been made in these very technologies.
Economic Stimulus Packages Encourage Innovation
In June, german Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze called for a stimulus package with a focus on climate protection (we reported). It is now clear that she has largely prevailed. The climate package reduces the levy for renewable energies (EEG), only cars with alternative drives receive a buying subsidy and e-mobility and “green” hydrogen economy are supported in the expansion, as reported by german newspaper taz.
For companies in innovative industries such as photovoltaics, wind power, hydrogen technology, grid expansion or electric mobility, there is now more than ever the possibility of getting capital that they would never have received in the financial market. Historically, this is comparable to the EFSI Fund,which supported companies after the 2008 financial crisis. Other countries in Europe and around the world also support innovative technologies to different extents, as indicated by the latest DERA raw material trend.
Breakthroughs in Green Technologies
There is no doubt that the performers of the above listed sectors will invest this money profitably. In addition, electric storage technologies are making enormous progress, as the technology magazine Golem reports in a lengthy article. Large-scale storage accumulators could serve as a buffer for the electricity grid in the future, which is subject to increasing fluctuations due to the increasing use of renewable energies.
German research should also contribute to the fact that the share of renewables continues to increase: In Berlin, the efficiency world record for thin-film solar cells was broken again after only a few months, as reported by german news website solar server. The research project speedCIGS, led by the Wilhelm Büchner University, could have achieved an astonishing 24.3 percent output to the solar cells made of copper, indium, gallium and selenium. According to solar server, the manufacturing process has also been improved, making industrial production easier.