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Is There Enough Lithium For All Those Electric Cars?

Sometimes, we try so hard to dig ourselves out of a hole that we don't see ourselves falling into another. In the desperate struggle to free ourselves from oil, let's not make the same mistake with another finite resource - lithium.

Lithium, already a choice ingredient in laptops and how can i buy levitra in canada mobile devices due to its light weight, has now caught the attention of electric car manufacturers. Lithium provides the light, powerful boost that will be needed to run the cod tramadol fedex online plug in cars of tomorrow. But if electric cars really catch on, there will be a demand for millions and millions of these batteries. As with oil, we must ask ourselves: Where does lithium come from?

The short answer is: South America. There, briny liquids are pumped out from under vast salt flats; the liquids dry into lithium salts which can be further processed into lithium metal. The largest of such salt flats is in Chile, although geological studies show large untapped resources in Bolivia.

But will the Bolivian lithium supply be enough? One geologist - R. Keith Evan - says not to cheap cialis online worry; there will be an abundance of www.fashionunited.info supply, plenty for all the cars we want to make. William Tahil, though, disagrees. In two papers he wrote for Meridian International Research over the past year, he claims that even if the current lithium manufacturers scale up their production levels as much as possible, there will only be enough lithium for 1.5 million Chevy Volt-type cars by 2015. Not to mention, he says, the untold environmental devastation that will take place as the lithium is plundered from the ground.

It is possible that Tahil is wrong, and Bolivia may be able to produce more lithium than he predicts. But the mere possibility of a resource shortage so early in the history of electric vehicles is frightening, and calls into question whether such a technology can truly be called sustainable.

Via CNET Green Tech

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Comments (25)Add Comment
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Good question, isn't it?
written by Karsten, November 03, 2008
You should ask yourself this question for any material that is needed to uphold a human life-style based on North American levels. Of course we could recycle. But will we have enough energy to do that?

In the end it comes down to sustainability. Will it be "I think and therefore I am" or "I consumed and therefore I was"?

Karsten
http://www.polluteless.com
Practical Advice to Pollute Less
0
Ummm salt flats are
written by bob bobberson, November 03, 2008
"the untold environmental devastation that will take place as the lithium is plundered from the ground." That's crap!

The salt flats of chile arn't exactly the rain forest. Plundering the rain forest for lumber is a completely different effect than mining the desert for lithium.


read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atacama

If they're extracting lithium from that location its hard to imagine and ecological damage in a place with no ecology.

Now it may be very true that the rates of extraction are far insufficient to the rates of usage leading to cheap viagra india much much higher prices. There are probably many alternatives to lithium that will become profitable if the need for lithium drives the price check 50mg viagra price way up.
0
...
written by jake3988, November 03, 2008
People always seem to fall into these same traps over and over.

The technologies we use for batteries is literally changing by the day. We won't be using lithium in 2015, we'll be using something that's far better. Or in complement to lithium.

There's new batteries being developed as we speak that allows quick transfers of energy without the battery exploding allowing for a 5 minute 'fillup'. Could be on the market in 5 to 7 years in cars.

So please stop basing all current technologies and saying we'll be using them in 7 or 10 years. We just won't. Technology changes and generic levitra 100mg progresses VERY fast.
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Toyota is certainly putting big chips on
written by Andrew Morgan, November 03, 2008
http://www.greentechmedia.com/...t-999.html


Toyota intends to expand its presence in the electric car market when it starts a full-scale production of lithium-ion batteries in 2010.

The Japanese auto giant currently uses nickel-metal hydride batteries in its hybrids vehicles like the Prius, which the company launched over a decade ago.

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good question
written by Tom, November 03, 2008
This strikes as exactly the sort of enter site viagra pfizer canada question we need to ask. Given how light it is, I would not expect Lithium abundance to be a problem (think stellar evolution). (Much like aluminum, however, the costs of extraction might vary considerably.) However, expectations are not always to be trusted. What worries me, however, is whether anyone has done anything to significantly improve the lifespan of a Lithium battery. (At a lifespan of two or three years, I would expect there to be a considerable environmental/ energetic toll imposed by constantly having to replace them.) Any news on that?
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written by Sunshine, November 03, 2008
I had an interesting conversation about this very issue with a few of my electric car savvy friends yesterday. Yes, batteries will evolve heavily over the next decade or two, but there's still an issue with anything you have to harvest from the ground that's not immediately renewable. Another big issue is the cialis price online cialis price long recharge time for lithium-ion cars, which at present take overnight, although that's changing too, and I think that will spur different battery technologies more than the environmental issue. Another issue: most people don't have garages where they can plug Volts and Zeos into.
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I don't know... BUT
written by omegaman66, November 03, 2008
It really doesn't matter. Lets go with the highly controversial view that Li supply will be severly restricted due to lack of supply. All that really means is that we will have to use something else IN ADDITION to Li not in place of it. Use Li until it runs out then recycle and in the mean time research will continue to find other alternatives (some worse, some hopefully better) and probably once an element is newly found to be valuable then much more energy is put into looking to find more reserves.
0
...
written by Jake, November 03, 2008
deserts have ecologies jerk off
0
...
written by Virgil, November 03, 2008
Major issue here is the source...
"Meridian International Research" appears to be a France-based consultancy company. Their website lists a street address, but nothing else. No CVs of the personnel involved, no indications of their scientific qualifications. Googling Bill Tahil pulls up a bunch of buy real cialis online without prescription links to WTC/911 conspiracy theories!

BUT... most importantly... NO indication whatsoever about who paid for this study! It is not published in a scientific journal, and as far as I can tell it has not been peer reviewed. There is no information on who pays M.I.R. for their work.

Conclusion - big oil is funneling money to 2-bit French research companies, to undermine the progress of the EV trade.
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Shortages can be a good thing...
written by HankS, November 03, 2008
The shorter a material is in supply the stronger the push to recycle that material. This is not great news for our future electric cars, but it could minimize potential environmental damage from lax recycling.
0
...
written by EV, November 03, 2008
What worries me, however, is whether anyone has done anything to significantly improve the lifespan of a Lithium battery. (At a lifespan of two or three years, I would expect there to be a considerable environmental/ energetic toll imposed by constantly having to replace them.) Any news on that?

There has been work to increase the viagra from mexico lifespan. The easiest way is to no fully discharge/recharge the battery. For example, hybrid vehicles discharge to 30% and charge to 80%. This extends the lifespan. Another thing for laptops is to trickle charge about 80% and use smart chargers. Trying to overcharge batteries is the primary thing that decreases the lifespan. This is one reason why you should not leave you cell phone pluged in longer than it needs to recharge as you are decreasing the battery life.
Conclusion - big oil is funneling money to 2-bit French research companies, to undermine the progress of the EV trade.

Or someone who wants to stop the rollout of electric cars period. Greenpeace comes to mind. They keep trying to block anything that would solve any of their claimed problems that doesn't actually give them more control over people's lives.
0
Wrong Question
written by Ken Roberts, November 03, 2008
Ok, first of all you have to understand that this question in meaningless in an economic sense. You can never run out of a resource, only have its cost go up to the point where it is no longer economical. So the proper question to ask is how much the price of lithium will rise due to increased demand. The market uses futures markets, stock price, and other mechanisms to predict this.
0
Cars Are Stupid
written by Patrick Dugan, November 04, 2008
I used to be on this bandwagon, until discussing the order tramadol site future of transportation with an angel investor, he said to me "cars are stupid". I thought it was a bit eccentric at first, until later that day I got into a car accident. Then again, two weeks later, I was stuck in traffic on the way to the airport, paranoid about my tires, stopping to get gas and giving every dollar in my pocket to do so, it hit me - cars really are stupid. They're net-inefficient, they cost a lot, they lose value all the time, and you have to put fuel and maintenance costs into them to keep them running. Light rail makes a lot more sense.
0
...
written by Gene S, November 04, 2008
MORE OF THE SAME CRAP,BY OIL COMPANIES CREATING DOUBT. 10 YEARS AGO TOYTA WERE MAKING RAV-4 ELECTRIC CAR , THAT I BELEIVE WEIGHS AT LEAST 3000 LB, USIN (BACKWARD) NICKEL METAL HYDROXYDE BATTERIES THAT RUN OVER 120 MILES ON A SINGLE (EVERNIGHT) CHARGE, GM EV1 WITH THEIR FLAWED TECHNOLOGY DID 80 MILES....... AGAIN THAT WAS 10 YEARS AGO. NEXT YEAR, CHEVY VOLT WILL DO ABOUT 20 TO 40 MILES PER CHARGE USING STATE OF THE ART LITHIUM ION BATTERIES, WITH SIMILLAR RESULTS FOR TOYOTA... IS IT ME , OR SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE ??????
FOR THOSE OF NOT FAMILLIAR WITH HISTORY, NI,METAL,HY BATTERY PATENT IS HELD BY CHEVRON, WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW CAR SIZE BATTERIES TO BE PRODUCED. IT SUED TOYOTA IN COURT, AND IT PARTNER MATSUSHITA TO STOP MANUFACTURE OF BATTERIES. TODAY CEO'S OF GM AND MOBIL/EXON'S SIT ON EACH OTHER' BOARD OF DIRECTORS , MAKING SURE THAT OIL BASED TECHNOLOGY IS SAFE, AT LEAST UNTILL OIL RUNS OUT
0
...
written by Ken Roberts, November 04, 2008
Light rail is just as expensive, if not more so, than your car. Much of viagra overnight the cost just comes out of your taxes instead of your budget.
0
...
written by Ben, November 04, 2008
I don't think lithium ion is the future of batteries. Scientists are working on special batteries using carbon nanotube capacitors. They are cheap, printable, flexible, longer lasting, and more environmental friendly. So, I wouldn't be too scared about the possibility of a shortage of lithium ion batteries with a technology like that in development.
0
@Gene S
written by HankS, November 05, 2008
What you're missing is the cost of those cars and that as test cars they were only leased.

You could say the same thing for fuel cells in ten years time; "why were they available in 2008 with better range/capacity?"... well because the few leased versions available cost the manufacturers upwards of $250k - $1M a unit (depending on sources), and were not available for purchase.
0
Easy Now...
written by Lemdog, November 05, 2008
We'll slowly and painfully move away from oil and wow it's great best cialis gas, with many screwups and false starts along the way. Whether it's carbon nanotubes, Lithium, switchgrass, bacteria, or a magic wand, it'll be a long time before we settle into a stable replacement for oil/gas. And like GeneS says (the CapsLock guy), it'll be up to those with the money and power to ever get this thing done.
0
Green builder
written by Mark Bachelder, November 13, 2008
Another strategy for making batteries last longer: battery chargers that rehabilitate the batteries, even some previously thought dead, not rechargable, etc. A man named John Bedini has been developing this technology for sometime, now. Part of the dynamic are rather high-amplitude, sudden changes in voltage (very square waves at minimal current), and a phenomenon called "radiant energy" is cited as well, probably concurrent with the with abrupt voltage changes of the square waves. See peswiki.com and search for articles on Bedini motors, etc. or check this link: http://peswiki.com/index.php/D...y_Energenx

Oh, yeah: these chargers have unbelievably low power requirements, too.
0
...
written by Richard Davine, November 13, 2008
To hell with cars. Public transport in big cities reduces congestion, pollution and resource consumption. Or you could ride a bike fatty! ;D
0
...
written by Dr. Tim, November 13, 2008
Isn't lithium the third most abundant element in the universe? My off-the-cuff guess is we'll be ok.
0
a few comments
written by Jeremy Wilburn, November 14, 2008
The concern for being able to recycle the the best choice search levitra batteries is not the most important thing. The first thing we need to be concerned with is building the green generating capacity to make the power to charge the cells. If there is sufficient electricity, the lithium can be reprocessed to completely recycle the batteries, like Aluminum is currently produced from bauxite.

First, however, we need to get to building sufficient solar/geothermal/wind/tidal power plants to supply the electricity that we consume, and that which will be additionally required to charge up all those electric vehicles you want to put on the road.

If you are depending on coal or natural gas to generate the electricity, we may not be around long enough to run out of lithium.

In the end, though, we must cut out wasteful consumption, and cars are the second most inefficient mode of order cheap viagra transportation (next to luxury private jets, that is). A fully utilized light rail system will consume far less energy per passenger than an electric car. That will also require, however, that we redesign the bulk of our communities in the US and rethink the cheapest mail order viagra entire idea of public transit being required to generate a net profit to be sustainable.
0
Where's the Red Line when we need it?
written by moby doug, November 15, 2008
And we can feed our discarded lithium batteries to needy bipolars!

Prediction: lithium battery powered vehicles will NEVER occupy a big slice of the transportation pie. Just too awkward, inelegant, an engineering solution.
0
np solution
written by frank, June 26, 2009
One aspect of electric vehicles that I haven't seen mentioned here is the fact that batteries only store energy, they are not a source of energy in themselves. What you do by driving an electric vehicle is to merely move the fuel--and pollution--source from the car to a, likely, coal-fired power plant. You've solved neither the fuel resource nor the pollution problem. In fact, you've created yet another source of resource depletion and pollution with all those batteries that have a very limited life span. Outside of huge nuclear fusion capacity--dubious at best--our days of cialis rx free wheeling consumption are rapidly coming to an end. The best/wisest thing we can possibly do is come to terms with this fact and set about preparing to live accordingly.
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Lithium Depletion - not just for batteries!
written by Don Johnson, November 16, 2009
Excellent points all around, especially about the fact the batteries are simply *storage* devices. The energy must still come from another source to begin with. We are simply moving the use of fossil fuels (which currently supply 80% of total world energy needs) to the coal fired powerplants (as well as other technologies) which will end up supplying the loads of millions of electric vehicles being plugged in every day.
One last point is that the fusion reactors of the future, which fuse deuterium, require heavy hydrogen (from heavy water which can be extracted from regular water) and yes lithium as fuels. If we deplete our lithium supplies now making billions of throw-away batteries for less-than-efficient energy *storage* technologies, we are simply not going to have them when the technology for actually *extracting* MASSIVE amounts of energy (on the order of 380TJ/kg of cialis attorneys deuterium!!) from fusion is available in 50 years.

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