New working paper published today in C-EENRG Research Series by C-EENRG Fellows Dr. Clara Galeazzi and Prof. Laura Diaz Anadon explores the evolution of trade in 30 energy technology materials spanning traditional and clean energy technologies, and its implications.

Deep energy decarbonization requires a shift in the materials used in energy technologies, or energy technology materials (ETMs). While many existing ETM studies are motivated by perceived supply chain vulnerabilities, the effect of changing demand on exporters of materials is relatively less explored. This study examines whether there are ETM products that exhibit characteristics in growth, volatility, and importer and exporter concentration in trade value and volume from 1999-2018 that are beneficial to exporters, and what the policy implications of these metrics may be. The authors systematically isolate and categorize 30 relevant traded products in UN Comtrade into clean and traditional materials, as well as into unrefined and refined materials; these outputs that can be re-used by other researchers for subsequent studies. The study finds that lithium carbonate exhibits the most beneficial metrics for exporters over time. Additionally, clean energy and refined materials are disproportionately represented in the high-performing products for exporters, compared to traditional and unrefined materials that developing countries tend to export more frequently. The results make a case for directed policy attention toward enhancing clean and refined ETM trade and capabilities in developing countries, although other policy options are also discussed.

This working paper relies in part on Dr Clara Galeazzi’s doctoral dissertation, titled “Essays in Energy Economics: A Global Empirical Examination of Decarbonization Policies and of Trade in Energy Technology Materials”, for the University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economy, submitted and defended in 2021.

Reference: C. Galeazzi, L. D. Anadón, 2023, ‘The Evolution of Trade in 30 Energy Technology Materials Spanning Traditional and Clean Energy Technologies, and its Implications’. C-EENRG Working Papers, 2023-3. pp.1-73. Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance, University of Cambridge.

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