We know it’s going to play a big part in our future, but how big are we talking here? Lithium seems to be on everyone’s lips these days due to being in the driver’s seat in the push for renewable energy. Needless to say, it powers most home electronics as it is. It is also leading the charge in home energy storage units. So what does the demand for lithium look like?
Experts say that as of 2015, the global lithium supply was approximately at 160,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE). Those are the ones we are using every day of our lives which power the lithium-ion batteries, that are also making their way into electric vehicles.
Francis Weldin, executive technical director at a company named Dakota Minerals Ltd was interviewed in a recent report on global lithium demand. He says that for every 1% of new electric vehicles making their way to market, 70,000 tonnes of lithium is in demand. These numbers were originally published by Goldman Sachs, who called lithium-ion the new gasoline, showing just how much demand has grown. So, needless to say, the numbers aren’t inspiring much confidence. Sodium-ion batteries, anyone?
According to ABC News, only five lithium mines have been fully developed in the last 20 years due to the low demand. However, then Elon Musk and his soon-to-launch Tesla Gigafactory hit the scene and is using lithium-ion propaganda to instil the anxious feeling that everyone should have a lithium-ion battery in their car and in the house, or be left in the Stone Age. Musk’s factory, if successful, will be the world leader in lithium battery power producing.
Goldman Sachs further projected that lithium-ion batteries’ use in electric vehicles alone would grow 11-fold, making the demand reach 300,000 tonnes by 2025. Elon Musk isn’t the only philanthropist wanting to get his hands on the world’s lithium production, China is interested too. A study conducted by Infiniti Research Limited entitled Global Lithium Market 2016-2020 estimates that the electric vehicle market in China. The demand for EVs in China will grow the market at a CAGR of 7.84%, making the country a contender for lithium-ion battery usage. All we know is the more lithium mining that occurs the more there will be for the world, and that’s what engineers are working towards. A world powered by renewable energy with the assistance of lithium-ion technology.