GeoDebates: minerals, economy and energy transition


The geo-debate initiative aims to respond to topics of scientific and social interest and to defend the importance of knowledge about geology.

Is it possible to move towards a resilient and sustainable society and economy if we do not reduce our consumption of energy and materials? What are the key factors in education for energy transition and digitalisation? Will we consume as much energy in the future as we do today? Is a 100% renewable energy production scenario possible?

Addressing these controversies and paradigm shifts related to the uses of energy resources is the objective of “Critical minerals and energy transition”, the second session of GeoDeabtes launched at the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Barcelona. The meeting will take place in a face-to-face and online format on June 14, at 6:00 p.m., in the faculty’s Aula Magna Carmina Virgili.

With the GeoDebates, the Faculty of Earth Sciences wants to focus on issues of scientific and social interest and defend the diversity and relevance of knowledge on geology in the face of the many social, environmental and economic challenges of the 21st century.

The energy transition and digitalization are creating a growing demand for minerals for the manufacture of photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, electronic components and batteries, among other devices. In addition to increasing the activity and value of mining globally, the growing demand has generated a new geopolitical and commercial framework associated with the decarbonization of the economy. It is also necessary to resolve recurring conflicts, such as the strong opposition to mining projects in Catalonia when we do not stop consuming the minerals derived from them.

In this context, geology and biochemistry appear as pivotal sciences for locating and exploiting these natural resources. But they are also essential disciplines to respond to these social and environmental issues that arise from these processes, minimize their environmental impact and promote the recycling of materials. The participants in the second session of the GeoDebates are the following:

Joaquín A. Proenza, lecturer in the Department of Mineralogy, Petrology and Applied Geology of the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the UB and expert in the field of mineral resources, in particular the exploration and modeling of mineral deposits. The study of conventional and unconventional mineral deposits is a line of work that contributes to the dissemination of sources of critical raw materials for the energy transition.

Susana Timón, coordinator of the research group on the economic geology of mineral resources of the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME-CSIC) and expert in the geology of metallic deposits, mineralogy and geochemistry.

Toni Dorado, chemical engineer and lecturer in the Department of Mining, Industrial and ICT Engineering at UPC. A specialist in natural resources and the environment, he coordinates Biometallum, a technology transfer project that recovers metals from mobile phones and batteries for recycling using bacterial cultures.

Jordi Solé, lecturer in the Department of Earth and Ocean Dynamics at the Faculty of Earth Sciences of UB. His research activity focuses on the study of energy systems through integrated assessment models, complex systems and data analysis. He also works in the field of the analysis of the interactions between climate change and the use of the resources and materials necessary for the energy transition.

The session, which counts on the support of the Catalan Association of Scientific Communication (ACCC), will be broadcast live on the YouTube channel of the Faculty of Earth Sciences. No prior registration is required to attend the meeting.

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