An Undergoing Lithium Revolution

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As the world moves towards a low-carbon future, there is a heightened range of technological advancements facilitating the transition away from fossil fuels. Transportation and energy production are two sectors that desperately need to reduce emissions, and developments in electric vehicles and battery storage are rapidly changing both markets. Lithium, sometimes referred to as “white petroleum”, is a key component in energy storage and in recent years imposes has quadrupled.

The heightened use of lithium batteries to store energy has exposed one of the dirtier sides of transitioning to a low carbon economy. To create these batteries, there is a need for a range of rare earth metals that require heavy mining and manufacturing that emit significant emissions. Furthermore, major components such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt exist in a finite amount that is unlikely to meet the current and future needs for battery units. Studies looking into the sustainability of electric vehicles point out that with the high need for new electric vehicles, the auto industry might benefit from economies of scale and as more cars are built, the more efficient and less polluting the manufacturing process. Additionally, as more batteries are created for these electric vehicles, it might create a market for the recycling of these storage devices, thereby reducing the need for new mining endeavors. (1) Have you ever wondered why the need for lithium is intimately connected to the popularity of electric vehicles? These new lithium mining and extraction processes are rumored to be on the line. Visit this article about this information!

A world in which EV assembly lines gather dust while battery manufacturers scrabble for scraps of lithium is wholly avoidable. But for producers, the solution isn’t as simple as mining more hard rock — called spodumene — or tapping more underground brine deposits to extract lithium. That’s because most of the better, easier-to-exploit reserves are already spoken for in Australia (for hard rock) and in Chile and Argentina (for brine). To drastically scale capacity, producers might also need to exploit the world’s “marginal” resources, which are costlier and more energy-intensive to develop than conventional counterparts.

Concerns about supply constraints are driving innovation in the lithium industry. A handful of proposals in North America and Europe are piloting and testing “direct lithium extraction,” an umbrella term for technologies that, generally speaking, use electricity and chemical processes to isolate and extract concentrated lithium. (2) Are you ready to discover a new source of lithium? Try looking at these zero emissions, zero trailings, and innovation integrated with existing processes of lithium mining!

Another way to bolster lithium supplies is to recover the metal from spent batteries of which there is already ample supply. Today, less than 5 percent of all spent lithium-ion batteries are recycled, in large part because the packs are difficult and expensive to dismantle. Many batteries now end up in landfills, leaching chemicals into the environment and wasting usable materials. Learn more and discover the fuel that powers electric vehicles that allow them to continually extend their production into the future! Check the disclaimer on my profile and landing page.

Source1: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2019/06/10/electric-vehicles-are-driving-demand-for-lithium-with-environmental-consequences/?sh=42f87f0162e2

Source2: https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/batteries-storage/evs-to-drive-a-lithium-supply-crunch

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