The mining of lithium-ion batteries is frequently criticized, despite the fact that electric automobiles make a substantial contribution to climate protection. The topic focuses on electric car battery technology and lithium battery packs for cars.
Questions and responses for a battery technology discussion.
How much lithium is required for the planet?
The ultra-smart lithium battery pack is an alkali metal with a fast expanding global market. The annual production in the top producing nations increased from 25,400 to 85,000 tons just between 2008 and 2018. Its application in the batteries of electric vehicles serves as a significant growth driver. However, lithium is also utilized in the production of glass and ceramics, as well as in the batteries that power computers and mobile phones.
Where can you buy lithium?
Chile has the greatest known lithium deposits in the world, totaling 8 million tons. This places the South American nation ahead of China (1.2 million tons), Australia (2.7 million tons), and Argentina (2 million tons) (1 million tons). Portugal has less of the pricey raw material than the rest of Europe. There are 14 million tons of estimated total reserves worldwide. This is equivalent to 165 times the volume of manufacturing in 2018.
Where is lithium mined most frequently?
Australia, with 51,000 tons, was by far the largest provider of lithium in 2018, surpassing Chile (16,000 tons), China (8,000 tons), and Argentina (6,200 tons). Figures from the USGS demonstrate this (United States Geological Survey). The top four nations have dominated the scene for a while, with Australia only recently pulling away from Chile in terms of margin of victory.
How do the mining techniques vary?
Simply said, lithium from Australia is obtained by ore mining, whereas lithium from Chile and Argentina is obtained through salt deserts, or salars. Lithium-containing saltwater from underground lakes is brought to the surface and evaporates in sizable basins in order to collect raw materials from salars. Up until the lithium is acceptable for use in batteries, the leftover saline solution is further treated through a number of steps.
Why is mining for lithium criticized?
Lithium mining from salars is frequently the subject of unfavorable reports: Locals in some regions complain about an increase in droughts, which threatens cattle husbandry or causes vegetation to dry out, for example. Experts still disagree on the exact extent to which lithium mining is responsible for the drought. There is no question that the actual manufacture of lithium doesn’t require any drinking water. On the other hand, it is debatable to what extent the withdrawal of saltwater triggers a freshwater influx and affects the groundwater along the salars’ edges.
How is lithium obtained by Volkswagen?
To guarantee that lithium is mined sustainably across the supply chain, Volkswagen works closely with battery providers. Volkswagen and Chinese lithium producer Ganfeng signed their original Memorandum of Understanding last year. Among other places, Australia has a number of mines from which Ganfeng sources its raw materials. The electric cars from Volkswagen also use lithium from Chile.
What are the long-term chances for the demand for lithium? According to Nobel Prize winner M. Stanley Wittingham, who formerly built the scientific underpinnings for the current generation of batteries, the raw material is still crucial in the long run. According to Wittingham, lithium will be used for the ensuing 10 to 20 years. In the interest of preserving the environment, it is also reasonable to anticipate a fast increase in the number of electric vehicles. By 2029, the Volkswagen Group alone intends to have 26 million all-electric cars on the road. Long-term, it is anticipated that a sizable amount of the raw materials will be recycled, which will lessen the demand for “new” lithium.