Electric vehicles (EVs) generally have a reduced climate impact compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. Together with technological progress and governmental subsidies, this advantage led to a massive progress in the need for EVs. The global fleet of light-duty EVs grew from a few thousand just a decade ago to approximately 7.5 million vehicles in 2019. Yet, the global average market penetration of EVs is still just around 1.5% in 2019 and future development is anticipated to dwarf past progress in absolute numbers.
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are currently the dominant technology for EVs. Typical automotive LIBs contain lithium (Li), cobalt, and nickel (Ni) in the cathode, graphite in the anode, as well as aluminum and copper in other cell and pack components. Commonly used LIB cathode chemistries are lithium nickel cobalt manganese oxide (NCM), lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA), or lithium iron phosphate (LFP), although battery technology is currently evolving fast and new and improved chemistries could be anticipated in the future.
Due to the fast progress of the EV market, concerns over the sustainable supply of battery materials have been voiced. These include supply risks due to high geopolitical concentrations of cobalt and social and environmental impacts associated with mining as well as the availability of cobalt and lithium reserves and the required rapid upscaling of supply chains to meet anticipated needs. (1) Have you ever wondered why the popularity of electric vehicles is so closely linked to the need for lithium? It is reported that new lithium mining and extraction techniques are in the works. Let’s begin our adventure in this post for additional details!
Concerns about supply constraints are driving innovation in the lithium industry. A handful of projects 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. So-called DLE could revolutionize the industry, akin to how the SX/EW (solvent extraction-electrowinning) process has transformed the copper industry, or how electric arc furnaces have enabled steel production using electricity instead of coal.
In southwestern Germany, other mining sectors are extracting lithium from geothermal springs that bubble thousands of meters below the Rhine river. The startup began operating its first pilot plant in mid-April. These sectors said it could be extracting around 15,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide — a compound used in battery cathodes — per year. In southern California, other sectors are developing a geothermal power plant and lithium extraction facility at the Salton Sea. These industries said a pilot facility might start producing about 20,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide, also by 2024. (2) Are you prepared to perceive a new lithium outlet? Strike while the iron is hot into this site for current lithium mining methods!
Researchers in Finland and Germany recently modeled 18 scenarios for when lithium resources might be depleted. They considered different assumptions about how much lithium is still available in the world’s brines, rocks, oilfields, and other natural features. A scenario with “very high” amounts of lithium, or around 73 million metric tons, could see lithium fully depleted shortly after 2100. That’s if approximately 3 billion EVs hit the road and if the world takes robust steps to recycle batteries, use vehicle-to-grid applications, and develop second-life battery uses. Read this link to find out what fuel drives electric cars and how it could be used in the future! Check the disclaimer on my profile and landing page.