Copper a Key Catalyst in Next Gen Solar Fuels: KMET Invests

Copper is perhaps best known as the bellwether metal for the health of the global economy due to its use across sectors for a wide range of electrical applications. Recent research from Berkeley Labs underscores the integral role that copper will play in creating the next generation of solar fuels and carbon dioxide synthesis. Copper is a metal featured prominently in the KraneShares Electrification Metals ETF (KMET).

Copper is a key electrocatalyst that utilizes its electrons to convert molecules from one substance to another; in the case of renewable energies, it is capable of converting carbon dioxide into other fuels and chemicals such as ethanol, ethylene, propanol, and more. While this property has been understood since about the 1970s, it has finally been observed in real time, allowing for better understanding of the process and how to optimize the use of copper in electroreduction.

“Knowing how copper is such an excellent electrocatalyst brings us steps closer to turning CO2 into new, renewable solar fuels through artificial photosynthesis,” said Peidong Yang, senior faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences and Chemical Sciences Divisions, and leader of the study, in the press release.

Electrification metals such as copper will play increasingly larger roles in the transition to lower- and zero-emissions practices in the years ahead; copper is currently used heavily in solar energy technologies. The KraneShares Electrification Metals ETF (KMET) offers targeted exposure to the metals necessary for electrification and the clean energy transition via the futures market.

Image source: KMET fund page as of February 23, 2023

The fund seeks to track the Bloomberg Electrification Metals Index and is comprised of futures contracts on copper, nickel, zinc, aluminum, cobalt, and lithium. These metals are all core components for batteries, electric vehicles, and the renewable energy infrastructure being created and expanded as countries aim for net-zero emissions by 2050 to curtail global warming.

KMET has an expense ratio of 0.79% and is part of the climate-focused lineup of funds from KraneShares.

For more news, information, and analysis, visit the Climate Insights Channel.