Like neodymium, copper isn’t scarce, but we need a lot of it. Basically, anything that has an on-off switch includes copper, thanks to its incredible ability to conduct electricity, and we haven’t found a better alternative yet. The tricky part about copper extraction is finding areas where the metal is concentrated in large enough amounts that are close to the surface, says Mary Poulton, co-director of the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources at the University of Arizona.
Situated in a region that receives more than 350 days of sunlight a year, the UA is uniquely suited to pioneer renewable and sustainable energy and energy policy choices. Researchers across campus already are advancing new technologies and supporting the expanded use of clean and economical renewable energy sources that will meet increasing energy demands and benefit the economy while reducing carbon emissions.