top of page


What is Beryllium?

  • Beryllium (Chemical symbol Be) is a naturally occurring element which has been identified as a critical raw material and is used in a variety of highly-innovative industry sectors such as the automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, electrical engineering and medical equipment sectors.

  • Beryllium is the fourth element of the Periodic Table and is the 44th most abundant element in the earth’s crust.

  • The primary forms of Beryllium commercialised in the Europe are (i) pure beryllium, (ii) beryllium containing alloys and (iii) beryllium oxide ceramics (BeO). The majority of Beryllium imported into Europe is in alloyed form, mainly copper beryllium (CuBe) followed by aluminium beryllium (AlBe). Smaller quantities are as pure beryllium or BeO. 

  • The primary properties of pure beryllium are its low density, high strength, high rigidity, reflectivity, structural stability at high temperatures and conductivity of heat. Beryllium metal is highly transparent to X-rays making it essential for X-Ray and CT scan medical systems. Beryllium is also used as neutron moderator and multiplier.

  • As alloying element or additive, Beryllium gives unique properties to materials based on copper, magnesium and aluminum or a mixture of these.


Key applications of Beryllium

  • Beryllium, mainly used as an alloying element in copper (CuBe), is essential for the reliability and durability of connector equipment, essential in all transportation equipment including electrical and hydrogen vehicles. 

  • Beryllium is the material of choice in the aerospace sector. CuBe alloys have high reliability, stress relaxation resistance, and high strength. Consequently, they are used in aircraft airspeed indicators, aircraft altimeters, pitot tubes and aircraft landing gear bearing bushings/control rod ends and wing aileron. 

  • Beryllium, and beryllium-containing materials – Beryllium metal, CuBe and BeO - represent priority materials for defence applications. Due to beryllium’s superior properties as a lightweight, stiff and thermally stable material, it is ideally suited for mission critical aerospace and military applications where low weight and high rigidity are essential. 

  • Beryllium metal has the unique property of being perfectly transparent to x-rays and is therefore indispensable in x-ray sources used in mammography, medical imagining equipment (windows of pure beryllium) and as components of robotic surgical devices. 

  • Pure beryllium is strong and light weight in constructual parts in space, save weight to bring it to and can withdraw conditions in space. Furthermore beryllium because of it properties is important in research and future for alternative energy generation.   

  • CuBe alloys used in springs, switches, and terminals of electrical connectors allow manufacturers of computers, cell phones, telecommunications equipment and other electronics to produce products to enable societal well-being. CuBe alloys also allow miniaturisation and energy conservation while fighting planned obsolescence, in particular in computers, cell phones and home appliances. 

  • Aluminium-Beryllium (AlBe) is a necessary additive to produce and recycle Aluminium-Magnesium (AlMg) and Magnesium (Mg) alloys. Few ppm (5-10 parts per million) in these alloys are compelling. In Mg alloys to prevent hardly to extinguish burning melts and in AlMg alloys to produce them save, in highest yield and for saving energy in production because of this. 


Where is Beryllium Produced?

  • Most of the production of Beryllium is in the U.S. (80% estimated). The global world production of beryllium is estimated at 243 MT (USGS 2018).

  • The three main importers of refined Beryllium in the EU are the U.S. (55%), Kazakhstan (23%) and Japan (17%). Estimated percentages.


More Information on Beryllium

  • Beryllium was identified as a Critical Raw Material since the first EU list in 2011 and has remained on the list since. 

  • The economic importance of Beryllium was established due to its very unique combination of properties that make it non-substitutable in many demanding high-tech applications which would suffer a loss in performance if it were to be substituted.

  • In terms of supply risk, there are no commercially viable sources of Beryllium in the EU to date. 

  • The most significant risk presented by beryllium is related to the inhalation of fine particles produced in the workplace. Beryllium is not professionally restricted under REACH nor under RoHS and ELV Directives related to its main uses.

  • The European Union has adopted an EU binding OEL in the frame of Directive 2019/983/EU – The Carcinogens, Mutagens or Reprotoxic substances Directive (CMRD). The CMRD sets an 8-hour limit value for beryllium of 0,6 µg/m3 (inhalable fraction). As of July 2026, the limit value for beryllium will decrease to 0.2 µg/m3 (inhalable fraction). 

  • Increases in the demand of Beryllium are expected in the defence applications and in commercial applications such as X-ray products, semiconductor processing equipment, in the energy sector with the development of the ITER project and new types of beryllium alloys. 

  • Intensive regulatory scrutiny with repeated reassessment of materials under sectoral legislation, i.e. beryllium has been assessed four different times under RoHS, negatively impact the industry in terms of certainty and consequently competitiveness, innovation and investment. It is of outmost importance that policy actions are developed in coordination, coupled with proper impact assessments to determine benefits and drawbacks of policy actions envisaged in reference to the competitiveness and resilience of the EU’s supply chains, considering their undeniable contribution to achieving the objectives of the EU Green Deal and of the digital and green transitions. 


To learn more about beryllium: –



bottom of page