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View Diary: The state of lithium (180 comments)

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  •  Lithium batteries are recyclable, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Perry the Imp, annieli

    but it's really expensive to do so, and not many places do it. However, much of the lithium can be recaptured.


    Part of the appeal, one of the green credentials of lithium, is its recyclability. Religiously recycled, much of the lithium stashed away in batteries should be able to be recovered, reprocessed and reused.

    Given that lithium is so rare, and the market for it is increasing almost daily, you’d think that there would be plans to increase recycling capabilities. The growth of lithium batteries should be equal to the ability to recycle them at their end of life a few years hence. That is, for every new lithium battery that comes off the assembly line, there should also be some planned capability to recycle every one of those. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, battery makers seem to be following the usual market economics practice that waits for another party to fill in a need.

    John Boehner thinks of himself as Ceasar. How about we change his name to Orange Julius?

    by second gen on Sun Jun 13, 2010 at 08:46:52 AM PDT

    •  I don't know if we can use current cost... (6+ / 0-)

      of recycling as a guide for what it will cost to recycle EV batteries.  Current lithium batteries being recycled are from hearing aides and cameras, that sort of small battery stuff.

      Once a significant of large EV batteries start hitting the recycling process costs are likely to drop.  And most certainly a lot more recycling plants will be built.


      BTW, lithium batteries won't go directly from EV to recycling.  Once they drop to about 80% capacity (dropping the range of a 100 mile EV to 80 miles) they will have a long second life as grid storage/smoothing.

      Utility companies are already working out the details for utilizing "second owner" batteries in their systems.

      It might be 15 years or more before large numbers of lithium EV batteries find their way to recycling facilities.

      President Obama!!! - People want MORE DRAMA!!!

      by BobTrips on Sun Jun 13, 2010 at 08:59:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was on a business trip to Ireland (6+ / 0-)

        in March several hedge fund guys and their lawyers looking to form a syndicate of sorts. Being a part of that made me understand why I had to understand lithium.

        This is what scientists and environmentalists need to be aware of: anywhere there is a valuable resource, there will be people, very powerful and wealthy people, looking to get control over it and limit access to it.

        •  Well, duh... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, happymisanthropy, annieli

          Of course greedy people work to increase their wealth.

          Thing is with lithium, EVs don't need a lot and the ocean contains huge amounts.  

          Worst case:  the greedy lock up the cheapest sources and rack the price up to just below the cost of seawater extraction.

          (But because lithium is so widely available they won't be able to lock up more than the very cheapest sources.)

          President Obama!!! - People want MORE DRAMA!!!

          by BobTrips on Sun Jun 13, 2010 at 09:11:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you figure (0+ / 0-)

            that most of the easiest accessible flats would be extracted first, demand will certainly outplace current supply. I know of no companies that looking anywhere other than salt flats to invest.

            •  Five million, four hundred thousand metric tons.. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, erush1345

              That's Bolivia's reserve base.

              One metric ton = 1,000 kg.  So 5,400,000,000 kg.

              Four kg in a Nissan Leaf.  

              1,800,000,000 "Nissan Leaf" batteries in Bolivia.  

              Cheapest source (that I know of).  We'll most likely use that first - except look on the thread for the mine/plant being opened in the US.

              Current supply talks about the facilities up and running to extract/process lithium.  We would probably hit a current supply ceiling in a few years if no new facilities were built.

              But they are being built.

              World total "dry land" reserve base is 11,000,000,000 kg.  2,750,000,000 cars.  

              600,000,000 cars in the world today.  Expected to double in the next 30 years.  1.2 billion EVs would use half the dry land reserve base.

              President Obama!!! - People want MORE DRAMA!!!

              by BobTrips on Sun Jun 13, 2010 at 10:42:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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