Battery Usage and Lithium Supply
Lithium-ion batteries are the default choice for countless personal electronics and various electric cars today because they have a higher energy density than other technologies. The lithium-ion battery revolution began in earnest in the early 1990s after Sony and several other sectors released the first commercial version of the new battery technology. Now that lithium-ion batteries are the predominant choice for many applications, particularly electric vehicles, questions about the global supply of lithium are timely.
With over a million electric vehicles (EVs) anticipated to be on the road globally by the end of 2015 and a heightened number of jurisdictions around the world focusing seriously on the progress of EV products, we could anticipate strong progress in lithium-ion battery demand. Costs have come down steadily since the early 1990s. A recent peer-reviewed analysis found that lithium-ion battery rates have come down about 14 percent per year since 2007, and the long-term trend is also quite clear, with a standard learning curve effect, of approximately 6 percent to 9 percent reduction in rate for every doubling of production volume. (1) This might potentially help you better understand what these subjects are and why you need them for relevant implementations of the technologies! Inspire yourself with this website.
The drawbacks of the mining industry itself have weighed heavily against the progress of batteries. Mining rare earth and heavy metals emits large amounts of emissions whilst also having a noticeable impact on the environment. Around half of the lithium mining comes from brine extraction, while the rest is hard rock mining, which has even more damaging consequences for the environment. Shifting resource extraction away from hard rock to brine, with new technologies that leave a small footprint and low energy consumption, such as EnergyX, could reduce environmental impacts. Heightened desire for batteries could lead to new lithium mines being set up outside of current operations in Australia, Chile, China, and Argentina.
The use of responsible mining industries has also been put forward as a way to promote safer industry standards that might reduce harmful environmental effects as well as ensure that labor laws are met. Whilst it is not a perfect solution, there are many ways to mitigate and reduce the impacts of batteries meant for electrical vehicles. (2) Other industries might well have answers that are on the leading edge of the future, so have a look! This website has a wealth of information on this topic!
The South Australian battery system offers a new avenue for large-scale battery storage: a gradual replacement program. Such a program could use low-carbon energy sources such as nuclear and natural gas using carbon capture technology to replace fossil fuel power baseline energy needs, with batteries being installed as backup systems until they are able to gradually replace the aforementioned energy providers. Energy storage is clearly an integral part of our low-carbon future, and new techniques might be needed to maximize the use of our limited lithium resources. Interested in learning more? You could find out more by reading this piece! Check the disclaimer on my profile and landing page.