3 min reading time
Story 018 – 2050 – Processes Megatrends Business model

Worldwide use of copper to rise massively by 2050

Megacities and mobility significantly boost copper consumption

Copper is one of the drivers of great innovations. Many technologies would be inconceivable without copper. This was the case in the 20th century. In the 21st century its importance will increase many times over, as will the global copper consumption.

The density of copper is 8.93 g/cm3, it melts at 1083 °C. After silver, copper achieves the second best electrical conductivity of all metals with 58 · 106 S/m and, with 394 W/mK, is an excellent heat conductor. Copper has an antibacterial effect and is extremely resistant due to its oxide layer. It is the 26th most common element on earth.

No wonder that it’s copper which has made the greatest innovations of the last 200 years possible in the first place: mobility, communication, energy transport and climate control.

In 2050, each of the 10 billion people on earth will have an average copper consumption of 6 kilograms per year. Just 30 years earlier, in 2020, only 2 kilograms of copper are consumed. Copper is one of the most important elements. In the years after 2020, it will play a central role in the realisation of important innovations, in sustainable energy production and in a completely new mobility. By then, the "Internet of Things", IoT for short, will even have incorporated plants into networks via a biochip, and operations in hospitals will be carried out by surgical robots that have access to prognoses from real-time data via a connection to quantum computers.

After 2020, the megacities will grow rapidly, and new urban living concepts in the form of combined vertical agriculture in skyscrapers will emerge. "Urban vertical farming" developes: autonomous mobility, strongly growing data traffic and data use as well as new indoor climate models through innovative architecture. In 2050, the earth's resources will be used sustainably. The use of geothermal energy will be widespread worldwide. In deserts, wind generator towers will generate electricity and water. The small wind turbines from 2020 will be a thing of the past. Copper and copper alloys, which look back on a long history and originated in the 19th century, will be part of all these important innovations.