Saturday, June 10, 2017

Is There Enough Lithium for All the Green Dreams #Science

To be clear from the outset, the Rockhouse Green Dream is there are far too many cars on the road and the evolution needs to go electric to sustain the vehicles which will be needed such as with electric buses, trains, and, distasteful as it may be, some type of Uber service for personal transportation.

This is an article following up a previous on the coming electric cars and who is building them.  (Ithaka:  Sixty Percent Increase in Electric Cars in a Year #Science)

Now for whether that's actually sustainable.

Figure 1: USGS Mining and Reserves Data (Metric Tons)

Even though 365 years of reserve supply sounds very comforting, the point of the EV and stationary storage revolutions is that current demand will shoot up, way up, if these revolutions do happen. The 100 Gigafactories scenario could come true. And if that happens, the 365-year supply would be less than a 17-year supply (13.5 million tons of reserves divided by 800,000 = 16.9 years).  

Can lithium batteries scale up? According to this quick and purely speculative math, the short answer is, with current reserves, not just no, but hell no. With known lithium “resources” at 39.5 million tons, we get about 50 years of supply with 100 Gigafactories, which is a bit more comforting, but still not exactly a viable long-term solution.

The next question is how likely it is that the world’s reserves and resources will increase dramatically.

GTM:  Is There Enough Lithium to Maintain the Growth of the Lithium-Ion Battery Market?

First off, I'll thank you, good sir, not to try to tell me the next question since I will discern that myself.

All together, class:  what's left out of that system model?

Class:  recycling

Now ain't that a peach.  Lithium, even after it's been used in a battery or for anything else, is still Lithium, one of the simplest elements in nature.

Those Millennials just love next levels so here's one.  Postulate the fully-populated system in which all the world's Lithium reserves are in use for batteries, even the new reserves which will be discovered in the interim.  We're using all of it.  Postulate also the perfect recycling system which reclaims all Lithium as quickly as possible after a battery is declared unserviceable.

Ed:  there's an upper limit unless battery efficiency increases substantially which it probably will.

There's a whole lot of calculus with deltas doing flip flops before your eyes but there should be some upper limit to the number of EV vehicles which can be extant at any given time.

That goes up to the top, mates.  There are too many vehicles already.  I don't have to flog it since you know already driving 'crosstown is a drag since you have to put up with other drivers who suck at it, traffic jams, etc, etc.  We dream of the open road even when we're not on it that much.

Instead of the next level, we can go to the nuts level and postulate we will make more Lithium.  That's otherwise known as fusion when you stick elements together to make another one.  The Sun does a swell job of it with Hydrogen and Helium and whatnot in whatever nefarious process so how hard could it be for us to do that.  No problem recreating that, I'm sure.

So there's yer Rockhouse position that the EV revolution will continue; you need to be part of it to get some of that jingle jack in yer pocket; it won't be that bad ... really.

If you're not a'wantin' the plain English, this would be a good time to bail.

It really will be better ... but it will be fucking horrible for a time since people don't want to do it and you know the whinging, whining, ass-dragging which will come.  I will be one of them since I love it with a Yamaha dirt bike and how the front wheel pops up practically every time you shift gears.  I know I could get the same effect from an EV bike but I don't want a sewing machine.  I want a two-cycle motor which sounds like a hive of gigantic, angry ass bees and it makes smoke and does every damn thing Greenies hate.

I'm kind of pissed off with that rich Cobra exhaust note which Ford does SO well since now I discover just about all of them do it and many are just fat ass tanks.  Pfft.

The exhaust note and the smoke and the smell are all major parts of internal combustion and "The Gumball Rally" lives forever but, regrettably, internal combustion won't.

In closing, I know Rolling Thunder.  There is no sound in this world like when a whole lotta Harleys start up to go out on a run.  It smokes and smells and vibrates and makes a sound that is sooooo righteous.  The ground shakes and life is good.

No more of that, mates.  I love it and I'll miss it until I drop but, yessirree, son, I did get me that Harley Davidson.  I'm tellin' you, that's a good thing to have when you sit out on that porch.


Anonymous said...

I am not sure the leap from recycling lithium to creating lithium to Ford's exhaust note.
Which is the best in the business and most Mustangs 5.0 or higher have it and the power to go with it.
But we can even recycle plastic cardboard or aluminum. So how do you propose we regain the lithium from a battery. The cobalt and nickel is easier. Lithium is only about 3 to 5 percent of the battery. I believe the process involves super cooling the battery before shredding it into pieces and separating the cobalt nickel and lithium.
And I have no idea on how much energy it would take to create Lithium from stay Hydrogen or Helium.
Maybe you could go the other way and release energy from Berylllium to step down to Lithium. Both are other side my knowledge without further research

Anonymous said...

Quick answer to creating Li possible but no practical

Peas InOurThyme said...

It's too far out of my league to toy with whether fusion has any tiny grip on reality.

The Lithium seems clearly the limiting factor which should put a fire under improving the recycle process but I do know it's unstable so it's going to be fun finding a way. Of that aspect I'm sure; if there's some jingle behind it then someone will figure it out.

That's not compromising the Lefty position since that kind of incentive is the M.O. within this economic system but I don't submit it's necessarily the best one.

In general it seems, if the jingle comes, it will come, whatever it is.

Anonymous said...

I stating earlier that Elon Hassan answer. He probably already has the next level battery system in his pocket

Peas InOurThyme said...

Your original point still stands that eventually all of the Lithium is in use. I suspect that may be sustainable assuming they don't use every last atom but that counts on a substantive decrease in the number of cars, shifts to different types of wheeled transport, etc. That kind of thing is generally foreseeable but fusion goes out to, well, maybe some genii of the future will figure it out. That's too sci fi to have any immediate value.

Anonymous said...

Possibly since if all lithium is in use , the world could have around 1.7B vehicles at any given time. Present there are around 1B vehicles. So depending on turnaround time for for recycling and production, lithium is still viable power source.
So now just have to provide a clean way to charge them
One other stumbling block is the Teals Powerball. It is only $6000 and is very viable with solar panels. The complete system would only be about $19000 for my situation and pay Backus only about 9 years. If I lived in the southwest
with more Sun and less tornado issues I would have had it already.
But the reason I mention it is that the pack weighs about 3500lb or the same as 35 car batteries.

Peas InOurThyme said...

The now technology is interesting but technology possible within, say, five years is even more so. I remember carrying a Motorola mobile which was big enough to make me look like a Wichita lineman but that shrank to the size of a flip phone in a remarkably short time plus the batteries in the flip lasted longer.

Judging by constant battery research, I do believe it's realistic to forecast substantive improvements in battery storage and also in solar panel efficiency for which I also see a great deal of research.

Maybe this sounds like Cenk Uygur and his perhaps but from the above, maybe there's enough Lithium to power all the vehicles but I do need the perhaps that the overall number of vehicles needs to come down and corresponding social evolution which needs to happen to get equal or better service but without necessarily needing a driveway at the home.

Anonymous said...

The cars per person is mainly on the US closely followed by China with the pair owning 50% of the world's cars.
The US os by far the worst offender with about 70% of the population ownimg a car China is at about 18% for the same number of total cars.
I can easily see how Uberlike car services will greatly reduce urban car owners. Most downtowners I know do not own cars and utilize Uber Lyft etc.
The cost savings for them car payment insurance parking is rather substantial not to mention the convenience.
Wait times are very reasonable
Not the same once you move far from downtown wait times higher and so are costs so the savings are not the same yet.

Peas InOurThyme said...

Downtown is easy, the suburbs a tad more difficult, but nothing runs out far enough for the ranch.

The first two I'm sure can evolve to new forms of transportation without a whole lot of difficulty but that doesn't do much for outlying ranches. A snap answer is a city Hyperloop and that answers 'crosstown traffic in the city but it still won't do much good for the ranch. There is also likely to be a much higher requirement for utility vehicles in the ranch or anything with a few acres which feels like one.

I'm sure there will be conversion because too much consumption, etc, etc but making transportation available to people out on ranches will likely most difficult because they, probably least of all, will settle for spam in a can solutions.