Reality check on lithium-ion hype

My Clean Break column today looks at all the attention being given to lithium-ion battery technology, which by most accounts is the technological answer to electric transportation and North American energy security. But is it sustainable?

William Tahil of France-based Meridian International Research doesn’t think so. He believes there aren’t enough lithium reserves to support a full-fledged lithium-ion-based EV revolution. He also argues that if we do proceed down the lithium-ion path, we may find ourselves switching from a “peak oil” problem to a “peak lithium” problem, with the latter more likely to come sooner.

An interesting twist to the battery debate… worth a read.

UPDATE: Tahil has given me permission to provide a download link to his study. Click here.

27 thoughts on “Reality check on lithium-ion hype”

  1. Having visited the salt flats in Chile and Bolivia, it would be a shame to see these destroyed. But based on USGS info (which admittedly can become skewed due to buisness interests, i.e. oil reserve numbers) my guess is that if the Sadoway/MIT research of 300-400 Wh/kg can be achieved, there will be more than enough lithium for plug-in technology for all new cars. Watching them shovel the salt in Bolivia by hand, you realized lithium mining has a long way to go.

  2. I think it is not by accident that GM selects technologies that are still in development as the hinge pins for various future vehicles, this leaves them a nice “out” to continue to make less efficient vehicles. The present generation lithium battery requires the element cobalt, also a very rare and expensive metal, the next substitute is manganese, but manganese based lithum batteries do not have the cycle life that is required in consumer products, especially cars.

    Toyota uses NiMH batteries, GM could make hybrid cars with these, but no, they decide to promise a car that has a battery type not proven in electric car mode yet. So, in 2009, after another two years of waiting for them to have a high efficiency car, they can bait and switch again. Please GM – just make a car using proven technology that returns excellent fuel economy! They just don’t seem to be able to make that decision.

    Gasoline or diesel electric hybrids give excellent fuel economy and it would appear, at least a ten year battery life. GM could do one of these AND also promise a future electric vehicle, but they seem to prefer a vision of the future, and no product today.

    The plug in hybrid is a great idea, but the cost of battery replacement will make this a difficult market to crack. The simple question for anyone hyping electric or plug in hybrids is: “show us the proof of battery life – real world tests over at least three years of driving cycles”. If they cannot give you that data, they do not have a product.

    A better hybrid for the short term will be a very small piston engine using a high percentage of biofuels with very light weight body and potentially photovoltaic energy augmentation.

    Cheers

  3. Like a Loremo?

    Then use PML‘s in wheel electric motor and you have a 200 mpg car. No?

    I’d say, use good enough / proven batteries and start mass producing cars with these batteries.

    Add soft orders for phev’s in the US to Barroso’s commitment to 30% less CO2 emissions in 2020.

    This would mean an interesting market for a car manufacturer from outside of the ones that have an interest which prevents them from acting in a forward fashion.

  4. Oh no, we aren’t even building large quantities yet and already we should give up? This may be a valid concern, but maybe Li Ion is a good initial solution. We still have existing NiMH, new FireFly graphite Lead-Acid with better than NiMH energy density (and lower cost), NaNiCL Zebra batteries, Zinc Air, a possible EEStor supercapacitor breakthrough….new breakthroughs in Fuelcells (or hydrogen batteries in my way of thinking)…maybe it’s a little premature to pronounce the EV2 as dead already?

    Do we really know where all the lithium in the earth’s crust is? Is it already in such high demand that the whole earth has been geologically searched?

    There’s also a fundamental difference between “peak oil” and “peak lithium”. We’re not going to be burning the lithium. Can it be recycled out of old Li batteries, so that any new lithium adds to every increasing number of lithium batteries?

    That Loremo is interesting! Gee I wonder if learning to build lighter cars might help? How about a PHEV Loremo? Maybe we don’t really need lithium at all.

  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_battery Zebra Battery – 90 Wh/kg, 150 W/kg, normal operating temperature 270-350 Celsius.

    Zebra battery has demonstrated 1,500 cycles over 5 years and 3,000 cycles over 8 years. The battery’s electrolyte freezes at 157 Celsius.

    http://www.betard.co.uk/ (Beta Research & Development ltd.)

    http://www.betard.co.uk/specific_energy.pdf Study attempted to improve from 94 Wh / kg to 120 Wh / kg => found 115 Wh / kg possible.

    http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/10/altairnano_test.html#more (Altair Nanotechnologies Li Ion batteries) 90 Wh/kg

    “after 15,000 cycles the cells still retained over 85% of their original charge capacity”

    “taken to 100% charge and 0% charge respectively during the 6-minute cycles”

    “15,000 charge cycle life would translate into a battery that would last greater than 40 years if it was charged daily”

    -50 to +75 Celsius 90 Wh/kg

    http://www.saftbatteries.com/130-Catalogue/PDF/VLE_module.pdf Nickel oxide based cathode, Graphite anode, 110 Wh/kg, 533 W/kg, >3,000 cycles? Li Ion

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/01/electrovaya_int.html (Electrovaya introduces “MN-Series” Lithium Ion SuperPolymer® battery technology – Jan 2007 news)

    “The new series offers density of beyond 330 Wh/kg and 650 Wh/liter.”

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/01/report_mitsubis.html#more (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd – Lithium Manganese Oxide battery for PHEVs – Jan 2007 news)

    MHI LiMnO prototype (Li Ion prototype?) being tested in grid application: 160 Wh/kg, 3,500 cycles – very nice!

    Altair has similar energy density Li Ion and has demonstrated 15,000 charge cycles. This and temperature range is large advantage over Zebra. Some of other Li Ion batteries listed have much higher energy density, but I don’t have as much information on cycle life and temperature range. Does suggest a lot of room for improvement in energy density of current Altairnano battery though.

  6. The ZEBRA battery is very similar to the sodium sulphur battery of almost 20 years ago, is had an internal temperature of approx 250 to 300C, and sheds about 100 watts continuously as heat loss. It also takes 24 hours to bring up to temperature if it does cool down. These characteristics leave it at a huge disadvantage for passenger cars. I had a chance to work briefly with “hot” batteries in the early 1990’s, the cool down heat up cycles generally degade the battery performance, so they have to be kept hot at all times, this means even during shipping! This is a fundamental barrier to series adoption. And at 100 watts to keep it warm, it uses 2.4 kWh a day just for maintenance of temperature, this is about 15 km of travel in an electric car. The projected costs of using the battery make it equal to about 30 mpg in a gasoline car, so again, why not a hybrid/piston at 60 mpg. Battery technology will get better, but it is a slow process, there are combinations of technology today that give us great fuel economy, let’s not let GM off the hook for not using them. If they can do better in the future, great, but the battery electric vehicle that can compete with present piston/hybrids will be a very tough nut to crack.

    cheers

  7. This guy William Tahil seems to have an ulterior ax to grind. The reports I have seen is that there are hundreds if not thousands of salt flats in Africa and Middle East, and the amount of Lithium contains is hundreds of times more than what is needed to build 100 millions of nLiFePO4 battery packs for EVs.

    And then the oceans contain 1000 times as much Lithium as the salt flats.

    I would ask Mr. Tahil to provide numbers. Without numbers, he is talking religion and ideology. How much lithium carbonate are there in all salt flats? There are thousands of salt flats in Africa and ME – has he investigated them? Does he know about the Japanese technology for lithium extraction from ocean water?

  8. checkout http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/lithium/

    8 countries in the world contain 11 million tons of lithium minerals that were “identified reserves”. Add to that millions of tons of lithium in other countries not surveyed, and add to that reserves that have not been identified, and then add to that the 100 fold increase in lithium found in oceans. And then add to that all the lithium rechargables that can easily be recycled (recycling lithium batteries is very profitable, and safe).

    Lithium is the 31st most abundant element on earth, and the crust contains 65 ppm of lithium. See Wikipedia.

    My guess is that there is at least 100 million tons of lithium compounds easily extractable. The ocean reserve is essentially limitless.

    And then Tahil still claims that Bolivia’s 5.4 million tons is HALF the world total? He’s got some ‘xplainin to do. Obviously he is trying to push the Zebra batteries and other technologies that have bick VC bucks, but are uncompetitive.

  9. The limited supply of Lithium combined with Li+ battery hype reminds me of thin-film solar hype based on rare element chemestry, such as CdTe… The technology may work well, but there’s only so much Tellurium….

  10. The argument about peak lithium is very weak. It’s similar to the argument that utility planners sometimes use for wind. “Wind can’t supply all of the energy to the grid.” This part is true. You need to firm it up when the wind isn’t blowing. “Therefore wind should supply nothing.” It is this leap in logic that is entirely false.
    Lithium is but one of many solutions. Who says it will be used in 900 million cars? It won’t happen. Hybrids have been out for 10 years, and are still only a small slice of the market.

  11. I think some of you are missing the point. Tahil is not saying never use lithium-ion technology because there’s not enough to supply all the world’s vehicles. He would agree with you that it’s part of the solution. His concern is more about the flow of investment going into lithium-ion battery research to the exclusion of other technologies. It’s a mistake to put all our eggs in the lithium-ion basket, and maybe, just maybe, it’s a good idea to continue R&D on rival technologies, such as Zebra batteries and whatever. This might seem like common sense, but given the lithium-ion buzz of late it’s worth pointing out.

    Also, like oil, the issue here is not as much whether there’s enough lithium; it’s more an issue of how much can be tapped economically to make it worthwhile. I think a six-fold increase in lithium production is a big jump that, while feasible, will certainly lead to rising costs when industry is expecting a lowering of lithium costs. That’s just my read.

    Anyway, the point of the column was to encourage debate, not diss lithium-ion technology. And I’m glad to see a debate is what we have.

    On another note, A123 has e-mailed me — both its founder Ric Fulop and one of its scientists, Andy Chu — disputing Tahil’s report and questioning his credibility. It seems Tahil privately wrote up a report a couple years back speculating that the destruction of the World Trade towers was caused by a nuclear blast. I confirmed that this is true, but Tahil told me he did this on the side as a personal endeavour and it has nothing to do with Merdian. Here’s Tahil’s explanation:

    Meridian International Research is a respected Aerospace Consultancy which I established 16 years ago in the UK. I have provided aerospace manufacturers with technical and market information for the development of new aircraft including regional jets, the A380 and the next generation of supersonic aircraft to succeed Concorde. In the last eight years the company has moved into other technical areas and markets which include: Peak Oil, Electric Vehicles, Renewable Energy, Battery Technology, Advanced Engineering Design and Modelling Tools and has produced a number of detailed market studies. In am a statistician, a professional market researcher and technologist who has served industry for twenty years. This is my professional background.

    In my personal capacity I was also a private pilot from 1992 – 2002. Following much discussion around the world on the issue of 9/11, I took a look at it in my private time during 2004-05. From my professional Civil Aerospace knowledge and my experience as a pilot I quickly saw that the official 9/11 version of events stretched credulity too far. The idea that 4 commercial aircraft could fly off course in the North East USA for over 20 -60 minutes, out of radio communication, without setting the 7600 radio failure transponder code, each in breach of basic FAR 91.185 Instrument Flight Rules, without military aircraft intercepting them, is absolutely and completely beyond all possible credulity. There are now many professional pilots speaking out about this aspect of it. I spent some of my spare time researching it using my professional skills.

    During the course of my research, I came across some data from an unimpeachable source which stunned me. That is detailed data showing the presence of a vast quantity of Radioactive Fallout in the dust from the WTC collapse. Absolutely incontrovertible forensic data which proves that Nuclear Fission took place on an enormous scale.

    It is ironic, in the light of the Lithium situation, that the source of this data, came from dust samples collected and analysed by the United States Geological Survey. Put up for all the world to see on their website if you know what you are looking at. I am not the only person to have discovered this of course. Once it was clear from the radioactive fallout data that a nuclear event had taken place, many of the other phenomena which took place that day and in the months afterwards made much more sense and indeed fitted like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into place. In reality, facts do not speak for themselves. They have to be spoken for. So in 2005 I wrote a 166 page private report which analyses in detail the Nuclear Demolition of the WTC. It presents an analysis of the data collected by the USGS and other seeming anomalies which in fact make perfect sense in light of the knowledge that nuclear fission occurred. After 18 months and in light of the continuing geo-political situation in the world I decided that in all conscience I had no choice but to publish these findings. I would not do so if I was not 100% sure they were correct. Many other scientists have said the same thing in code in the public domain.

    It is reported that thousands of people in New York are seriously ill from the effects of what happened that day. How can they be treated if accurate information as to the cause of their illnesses is suppressed?

    You can judge for yourself, but I wouldn’t brand somebody trying to advance an alternative theory about something as a conspiracy theorist. I also don’t think this has any impact on Tahil’s credibility as an analyst and researcher, despite what A123 (which understandably has its own interests to protect) would like the world to believe.

  12. HA HA HA — I smelled a rat (Tahil) and I was CORRECT. The whole peak oil theory is pushed by post-colonialists as a method to bash the west. Now they have found peak-lithium!! So they are saying, dont bother with lithium and continue buying $3 (extraction cost) oil at $60 from religious dictators (Iran, Sudan) and fascist dictators (Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait), so they can buy their luxury yachts and have their societies freeload on the poor Indian and Chinese and African.

    This guy is a conspiracy theorist. And you give him prominent space on the Toronto Star?

    Tyler, this is disgraceful. Your argument that all technologies are equal, and should be equally funded reeks of post-modernism (moral and cultural equivalency) and totally ignores the scientific results and market forces that will seek out the best solution. I think you have been had, and this is a black mark on your blog.

    Just because there is Zebra and there is zinc-air, does not mean that society should be taxed to fund these technologies, when nono-Li-ion is already proven. Just go to your Home Depot, and buy a nano-Lion (by A123).

    Whenever you decide to put your own money into Zebra, then you gain the right to tell others that we should subsidize and tax-payer fund these unproven technologies. Is this understood?

  13. Suri,

    I think calling Tahil a “rat” is borderline libellous and, well, completely unjustified. And I don’t appreciate being flamed on my own blog. I don’t feel that encouraging debate in any forum is a “black mark” or “being had,” and I don’t think others see it that way. Nobody is saying don’t bother with lithium, and my argument isn’t that all technologies are equal. It’s a cautionary message about not being caught up in the hype. Why are you trying to stymie such debate?

    The tone of your post leads me to believe that you’re intentionally trying to discredit Tahil and, by extension, this blog because you have a personal interest in the lithium buzz. So tell me, what are your associations? Do you work at A123 or some other battery company with interests to protect? I think it’s telling that you criticize this blog and at the same time hide behind an anonymous post.

    At least what I write, and who I am, is out there in the open for the world to criticize and comment on. Since when is writing something somebody doesn’t agree with a “black mark” on anything, unless of course you only tolerate the world of ideas and discussion through your own narrow viewpoint?

  14. I am with Tyler 100% here – giving people the heads-up on the potential limitations of a technology around which there is a lot of hype is nothing but good journalism. If Tahil’s concerns turn out to be unfounded, that’s great news for lithium-ion investors!

    However, if those concerns do in fact have a basis in reality, then investors now know to keep an eye out for a potential risk, and maybe this is something they want to ask company management about. Are there commodity price risks associated with this trade and, if so, how are companies hedging them?

    Tahil is speaking on behalf of his organization here, and it seems to me as though it’s that organization’s credibility, based on past work, that should be at the center of this discussion; not Tahil’s based on what he does after work. Whatever he does on his own time, however objectionable to folks out there, has absolutely nothing to do with the soundness (or lack thereof) of his argument.

    The tone of your post Suri is reminiscent of the crap I read daily on Yahoo Finance message boards by folks trying to push stocks. Why don’t you tell us a little more about yourself??

    As for your senseless whining about letting market forces rule, if you knew anything about economics you would know that one of the first premises for a functioning market is information availability. Tyler is merely communicating new information to market participants here, and, if this information turns out to be accurate, he’ll have just increased this market’s “efficiency”. If not, the market will ignore it and there will be no repercussions.

  15. You’re right – someone advancing an alternative theory is not a conspiracy theorist. Someone who claims the government is lying about an event that everyone saw on TV and hiding data on purpose while people die is, in fact, the very definition of a conspiracy theorist. See also – “Pan Am 103 was shot down by a missile”. To me that does make other things he says rather suspect.

    But we should in fact be even-handed about this. You noted that you got a response from A123. Can you post that response? They do have a vested interest, as you note, but that doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. Let’s hear their side of the story.

  16. Suri,

    Ramblings about post-colonialists and post-modernists is not a very convincing way to label someone else a conspiracy theorist.

    The validity of any information, anywhere, is up to the repsonsible reader to evaluate. Thanks to Tyler’s obvious openness and objectivity, that process is made much easier in this blog.

  17. Their response didn’t say much — here’s what A123 co-founder Ric Fulop wrote:

    I just ran the numbers and there are enough proven reserves of Lithium (10 million tons) to power 2.6 billion plug in hybrid cars. Also, keep in mind that unlike oil, Lithium is completely recyclable which allows you to re-use that Lithium. The guy quoted in the article from Meridian International Research (Mr. William Tahil) is a “conspiracy theorist for hire”. Below is a link to some of his other crazy work such as claiming 911 was caused by an underground nuclear blast.

    The 10 million tons figure is the same as that cited by Tahil, I believe, so they’re all working with the same numbers. They differ in their analysis of how much lithium would be required for plug-in hybrids. Fulop doesn’t back up his comment that Tahil is a “conspiracy theorist for hire” — quite the cheap shot to make without proof. Anyway, if Mr. Tahil is reading this, perhaps he can provide a link to his report or give me permission to upload the version I have. Then those critical of his conclusions can find out how he came to them.

  18. Here’s another e-mail from Tahil, in response to A123:

    I see there’s been some active debate on the Lithium issue.

    I’m working on a second edition of the Lithium paper – if anything the situation is even more constrained than I thought. You can put up the existing paper if you like and I’ll send you a link when the next edition is ready.

    Regarding A123’s email to you, I would like to know how they calculated their figures… What assumptions did they use to calculate that “proven reserves” of 10MT Li metal equivalent is sufficient for 2.6 billion PHEVs?

    Key assumptions I need to know:

    1. Percentage of the Reserve Base (as it is) of 10MT economically recoverable

    2. Size of battery per PHEV

    3. Li2CO3 utilisation in their industrial manufacturing process per kWh of A123 battery.

    For the record I have no affiliation or interest, financial or otherwise, in any of the battery companies or technologies. I am independent. The analysis simply shows that it would be unsustainable to base the forthcoming technological revolution in the automotive industry on a constrained resource. It’s an issue of order of magnitude, scale. People need to consider it from an Industrial point of view, not purely a technological one – for the forthcoming EV World will be as major an Industrial Revolution as that of 200 years ago.

    We live in a Real World of Strategic Planning and Business Development. A world which has become an environmentally and ecologically sensitive one.

    We have to be conservative and realistic in our decision making and planning – we must look at practicalities, not be over optimistic.

    Consider – the distorting effect on the Li2CO3 market of demand doubling, tripling, quadrupling over a relatively short period of time, even 10 years, even assuming Peak Oil doesn’t force change even more quickly.

    Supply Availability – how can manufacturers plan strategy over the next 10 -15 years as they introduce a technology revolution into their products, reliant on a material that isn’t even produced yet – several orders lower than required – when the demand when the first PHEVs hit the showrooms will rocket and sales of existing vehicles will dry up.

    Even 10 car manufacturers at an insignificant 100,000 PHEV20 units each – is 17% of current Lithium Carbonate production – equal to nearly all the Li2CO3 used for batteries today actually. So battery Li2CO3 demand will double – for 1M cars. US car sales alone are 17M per year.

    Next time gasoline exceeds $3 a gallon, with all the expectations now being generated for PHEVs, what will the latent demand for PHEVs become? People are already waiting for PHEVs.

    Talk about oceans and rocks as a Lithium source is completely unrealistic. People are going to wait while hypothetical Li extraction plants are set up, using untried, undeveloped hypothetical technologies to get it out of the ocean, where its concentration is 0.17 parts per million, more than 10,000 times as dilute as the best salt lakes used today?

    We need realism, not faith. Our strategy must be based on sound, reliable information, based on what we know not on what we do not. Our strategy must take into account environmental considerations and be environmentally sound. Recycling a substance such as zinc which is already widely available performs a useful recycling task, it’s cheap and it works; opening up new mining in some of the planet’s remaining ecologically important areas for a substance which is at best insufficient to meet anything like the demand which the automobile industry needs is not sound thinking or planning in any shape or form. We all have a responsibility to not fall into the same traps as those of the past.

  19. “I think a six-fold increase in lithium production is a big jump that, while feasible, will certainly lead to rising costs when industry is expecting a lowering of lithium costs. ”

    A jump in costs is perfectly normal in this kind of situation, which is repeated often in various commodity markets – polysilicon is an obvious example. The important question: is there any reason to believe the price increase will not end when supply catches up with demand, as is the usual pattern?

  20. “Even 10 car manufacturers at an insignificant 100,000 PHEV20 units each – is 17% of current Lithium Carbonate production – equal to nearly all the Li2CO3 used for batteries today actually. So battery Li2CO3 demand will double – for 1M cars. US car sales alone are 17M per year. ”

    It will take at least 5 years to get to this level of production. That’s an increase in demand of about 15% per year, which any mining company worth it’s salt (pun intended) ought to be able to keep up with.

    Mining companies will have plenty of notice of automotive capacity expansion. Do you believe that current production would be hard to expand, given proper notice?

  21. Well, now I’ve read the paper.

    I’m struck by the fact that historical prices of lithium carbonate have been about $1/kilo, roughly the amount needed per kwh li-ion battery capacity. That’s .25% of current battery costs of $400/kwh (per Tesla), which isn’t much. The article suggests that spot prices recently have been $10/kilo.

    This deserves research, but another poster suggested that lithium has gotten little serious prospecting (perhaps due to low prices), that it’s a relatively abundant element and that it’s available from many similar salt-flats elsewhere which have received little attention. We may have our perspective warped by peak oil, where oil has been intensively explored for over 100 years. Do we have real reason to believe that reserves are this limited?

    Look at polysilicon – it’s prices have jumped due to delays in ramping up production, yet this increase will be temporary due to the abundance of silicon….think sand.

    This analysis makes a lot of silly assumptions, such as that commodity prices have jumped recently due to peak oil. That’s not the case – in fact it’s a temporary increase across the board due in large part to China’s demand outstripping current capacity. Another mistake is to estimate long-term large-scale li-ion production costs at around $400/kwh: in fact, that’s where they are right now, according to Tesla’s report on their purchasing costs.

    Finally, I’m curious why the Firefly battery was not included in the analysis. This report is recent enough to include the Chevy Volt – why not Firefly?

  22. Tyler, you’re defending a 9/11 “truther’s” credibility? I would say your source is fried and you ought to retract the essay.

  23. It’s interesting that some people would rather dwell on the author of the paper rather than its content. If you disagree with the calculations and conclusions of the paper, then tell me why. If you’re not prepared to read it and prefer to simply attack the credibility of its author, well, I can’t help you there — I don’t do censorship.

  24. Mr. Tahil’s basis for a Lithium shortage is built upon a statement in his paper:

    http://www.meridian-int-res.com/Projects/L…m_Problem_2.pdf

    On page 12 of this report he states; “Existing LiIon/LiMP “Energy Batteries” for EVs require about 0.3kg of Lithium metal equivalent per kWh, in the form of Lithium Carbonate.” He then continues in this paper to state that it takes 1.4kg/kWh of Lithium Carbonate Li2CO3 to build each kilowatt hour of an EV battery. This premise is completely in error & I show why below.

    Saft, which is one of best known, most respected & oldest Lithium Ion battery manufacturers in the world publishes the ‘lithium content’ of their Li-Ion batteries.

    Let’s take a look at some Saft Li-Ion rechargeable batteries that use lithium carbonate in their makeup. One can open the following Link & navigate down to their ‘Lithium – ion batteries’ to confirm the figures I post below:

    http://www.saftbatteries.com//140-general/80-20_download.asp

    If you click on the ‘MP 176065’ as provided in the following link:

    http://www.saftbatteries.com//130-Catalogu…F/mp_176065.pdf

    You will see that this Li-ion battery is rated as follows:

    Nominal voltage: 3.75 Volts

    Capacity: 6.8 Ah

    Lithium equivalent content: 2.0 g

    Nominal energy: 26 Wh

    Now let’s do the math for everyone to see:

    1kWh or 1,000Wh / 26Wh = 38.46 of these batteries to make 1kWh

    38.46 Saft MP 176065 batteries X 2.0g Lithium equivalent each = 76.92g of lithium equivalent

    If you add up the molecular weight of lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) & then figure what the percentage of lithium is, you find that lithium makes up 18.8% or .188 of Li2CO3.

    76.92 / .188 = 409.15g of Lithium Carbonate in 1kWh of this Saft Li-ion battery.

    This is only 0.409kg/kWh — NOT 1.4kg/kWh, Mr. Tahil’s basis for this article.

    0.409kg/kWh is extremely close to the figure (0.431) that the UN & the US-DOT & several Li-Ion battery companies tell us we need to use when determining the lithium content of a Li-ion battery. They are having us figure a little high for transportation safety reasons.

    Go ahead and open the other data sheets for the other Saft Li-ion batteries & do the analysis on each battery displaying the Lithium contents. They all fall in at around 0.409kg to 0.426kg per kWh which is extremely close to the 0.431kg/kWh as stated in an above commentary.

    This means that we can build in excess of 1.5 Billion PHEV20 (more than 2 X all the world’s current vehicles) & use only 5,799,918 tonnes of Li2CO3. The USGS tells us in a 2000 study that we have 12,000,000 tonnes of Li2CO3 …. HOWEVER, Lithium can be & is being recycled from Li-Ion batteries. See TOXCO @:

    http://www.toxco.com/processes.html

    As can be seen, lithium is quite recyclable so, in reality we won’t even begin to approach using up half the world’s reserves by the time we have gotten around to building 1.5 billion PHEV vehicles; if we EVER make that many. It is estimated that the whole world only has 0.6 billion vehicles today.

    Wayne Brown — http://privatenrg.com

  25. “Altair has similar energy density Li Ion and has demonstrated 15,000 charge cycles”

    I would correct demonstrated with claimed, which make a lot of difference

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