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Transportation Transportation Battery

Lithium, the new oil source could be extracted from seawater.

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by: Cindy Westland
Lithium, the new oil source could be extracted from seawater.

Gold is popular but lithium is extremely popular. It is not only that the millions of phones, Ipads and other handheld devices contain the lithium batteries, but our future is also increasingly focused on this natural stuff. It must also be mentioned that medications against (manic) depression are also made of this product. In short, a lot of demand!
Lithium
Lithium (Source: CitiFmOnline)

The discovery of lithium

Lithium is mainly won in the mines of Chile and Bolivia and was discovered in 1817 by the Swede, Johan Arfwedson. When the geologist Gmelin then did research on the substance, it turned out to get a particularly red color when heated. Only years later the raw material became applicable because it was separated from the other minerals by electrolysis. The person who can put this on his name is the American Humphry Davy. From 1923 the lithium was massively produced by a German company.

The future of lithium

The future is uncertain. Nevertheless, we can estimate that there is a date on certain fossil fuels. Apart from the attack on mother nature, it is also important to look into the wallet and of course the noses all go in the direction of lithium-ion batteries. Electric cars contain thousands of small ion batteries and popularity will depend on that.

By: Responsible investment

Impending shortage of lithium causes price to explode

The rise of the electric car has a major impact on the price of lithium used in batteries. This has more than doubled since 2015 due to an imminent production shortage. The expected worldwide breakthrough of the electric car will possibly meet an unexpected threshold. Producers are getting harder and harder to extract enough lithium. As a result, the price of lithium has more than doubled since 2015.
The world is currently on a transition phase from fossil fuels to environmentally friendly alternatives. As a result, the worldwide demand for lithium, a material that is important for batteries, has been rising for several years. For example, from the expanding smartphone industry, which needs more and more batteries for their billions of phones.

Fast rising demand

The real demand peak may only come after the expected breakthrough of the electric car. For example, the electric battery in the new model S from Tesla uses 45 kilograms of lithium carbonate. The problem? Despite rising production, the mining sector is already barely able to follow the rapidly increasing demand for lithium.
Model S Tesla
Model S, Tesla

A problem that is likely to worsen in the coming years. In China, the ambitious plan is to have no less than 5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020. This alone would require a total production of no less than 330.000 tons of lithium carbonate.

And then there is Tesla, which builds a 'Gigafactory' in the USA that has to produce a huge amount of batteries. If that soon produces 100 percent, that new Gigafactory would need about 25,000 tons of lithium hydroxide. What according to calculations by the Bloomberg news agency would amount to more than 20 percent of the total expected worldwide lithium supply by 2020.

Not easy to produce

It is therefore completely unclear whether the existing miners will be able to increase their production figures sufficiently quickly in the coming years. Even though the places where lithium can be found - unlike oil - are largely located in stable regions. And even though there are many new mines planned in the coming years.
Lithium mine seen from above. rectangle basins
Lithium mine Chile

Lithium is only widespread in a few places around the world, mainly in Chile, China, Argentina and Australia. And lithium is not equally easy to produce everywhere. In Australia it is locked up in rock that has to be heated first, while in the salt ground water can be extracted in Chile, which is a lot cheaper.

According to the latest reports, the recent production quantities are also heavily disappointing. The new mine at Olaroz - the first new lithium mine in two decades in South America - is suffering from a major production lag and a lack of funding hampers the start-up of new mines in Argentina, the world's third largest producer of lithium.
Lithium mine Argentina seen from above with a bus

Lythium mine in Agentina

Alternatives and recycling

According to experts, the threat of supply shortage in the short term may only be solved by looking for alternative raw materials or experimenting with new extraction techniques for lithium. Similar to what happened in the oil industry, when the rising prices suddenly made the extraction of shale oil profitable.

Australia's ‘Lithium Australia’ is experimenting with chemicals to get lithium out of the rock without heating. Recycling will also play a very important role in the future in order to be able to follow the rapidly increasing lithium demand.

By: Nico Tanghe, the Standard

Researchers claim to be able to extract lithium from seawater

Due to the rise of electric cars, the demand for batteries is rising steadily. This threatens a shortage of essential materials such as lithium. But what if we can extract lithium ions from seawater? Australian and American researchers claim to develop a new desalination technique with which this is possible. New Atlas reports this, following a publication in the scientific journal Science Advances.

Lithium ions

Seawater has all kinds of useful minerals, but until now it was difficult to extract it. However, due to the new desalination technique, it must be possible to extract lithium ions from seawater. In addition, the technology must make it possible to make drinking water from water from the sea. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are at the basis of the technique: a material consisting of a bond between metal ions and organic ligands, known for its absorbent and catalytic properties. In other words: MOFs are ideally suited for the capture and storage of certain molecules and thus also for filtering sea water.
Researchers at Monash University, CSIRO and the University of Texas developed a membrane based on MOFs that is able to extract salt and lithium ions from seawater in a much more efficient way than previously possible.

Batteries

Huanting Wang, one of the authors of the research, told New Atlas: "Our research can have far-reaching consequences for the mining industry, which is currently using very inefficient methods to extract lithium from rock."
A pile A3 Lithium batteries
"The global demand for lithium is very high," he continues. "Our membrane has the potential to extract lithium ions from seawater, an almost infinite and accessible source."

When and if this technology can actually be used, is as yet unknown. The researchers continue their research, with the aim of using MOFs better and more efficiently to extract lithium ions from seawater.

By: Hidde Middelweerd

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Financial spider in the web. WhatsOrb is a company with stakeholders and interests in the Netherlands and abroad. Cindy continuously monitors the administration of the company and addresses in-and external issues. It’s done with panache and great enthusiasm. Gardening is one of Cindy’s activities when having free time.
Financial spider in the web. WhatsOrb is a company with stakeholders and interests in the Netherlands and abroad. Cindy continuously monitors the administration of the company and addresses in-and external issues. It’s done with panache and great enthusiasm. Gardening is one of Cindy’s activities when having free time.
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