The highly reactive silver-white metal lithium, which is a key component of the batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs), is rising sharply in price. The rising lithium prices have started to impact the price of EVs. Around the globe, EV prices are going up and it’s bad for climate change. In this piece of content, we have tried to make you understand how rising lithium prices are a bad sign for climate change.
The skyrocketing price and increasing scarcity of the metal raise concerns about how governments from China to the European Union will fulfill their deadlines, several of which are due as early as 2035. These governments have committed to phasing out combustion engines shortly.
A delay in moving away from petrol and diesel cars would seriously undermine efforts to cut carbon emissions and avert the worst effects of climate change, as combustion engines are responsible for one-quarter of carbon emissions, according to the United Nations.
Despite declining from its April highs, Benchmark Market Intelligence reports that the price of lithium has increased by more than 600% from the year’s beginning, it has reached to $62,000 in June. Additional “severe” price increases are expected, according to Citigroup.
Light-duty EV sales, which doubled to 6.3 million units last year, are expected to reach 26.7 million units by 2030, according to Platts Analytics, and have been the primary driver of the rising pricing.
Supply has been further constrained by increasing demand for lithium from producers of energy storage and 5G gadgets, spaceships, submarines, and safety and cooling equipment. According to a commodity price reporting service called FastMarkets, lithium supply could completely run out of demand as early as 2026.
After years of declining costs, EVs are again increasing in price, reversing a trend that places electric cars on pace to become competitively priced with ICE vehicles.
Lithium production will need to quadruple by 2030 to keep up with expected demand.
Why Lithium Price is rising?
Mines in the pipeline
Any additional supply will probably come from Australia. But the thing is that it will take three to seven years for new lithium mines and evaporation ponds to become profitable.
In Western Australia, the world’s center for lithium mining, and on the Cox Peninsula, close to Darwin, where exploratory drillers have discovered 7.4 million tonnes of lithium concentrate — just shy of the 7.9 million tonnes of proven reserves in the United States — two enormous new mines are already in the works.
The biggest EV market in the world, China, is also increasing production.
Even though China only has 7%, of the world’s proven lithium reserves, it’s currently the fourth-largest producer, the top refiner of processed lithium, and the top manufacturer of lithium batteries. despite
Although lithium holds the promise of a low-emission future, the process of producing it has staggering environmental consequences. According to Fairfield Market Research, mining one tonne of the metal requires more than 2.2 million liters of water. Additionally, borax, potassium, and manganese are released into the surrounding water supplies during the metal extraction process.
Conflicts at Lithium Mines
The conflict has broken out between miners and locals living close to lithium mines from Chile to Serbia. Residents of Cherryville, North Carolina, have protested against Piedmont Lithium’s plans to construct a lithium mine, citing the unattractive scars that previous miners during the 1950s left on the terrain.
While Amnesty International has reported violations of Indigenous rights by lithium miners in Argentina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s lithium mines are known for utilising child labour.
The greatest reserves on earth are being restricted from foreign investment by Bolivia’s communist government. In Chile, stricter licensing rules and the nationalisation of water resources are in the works, while Mexico is thinking about doing the same with its lithium riches.
High lithium-producing nations are hedging their bets by making investments in new technologies and lithium substitutes. Salient Energy has marketed its zinc-ion battery as being comparable to lithium-ion cells and more readily available in Canada.
Exploring the New Ways
To generate electrolytes utilising sodium-sulfur batteries, researchers at the University of Houston used a high-intensity ball milling procedure. These electrolytes could serve as a competitive alternative to lithium-based batteries for grid-level energy storage systems.
Scientists are stress-testing a new technique that uses magnetic nanoparticles to extract vital minerals like lithium from wastewater at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the US Department of Energy.
According to preliminary findings, if only 25% of the lithium in water pumped for oil and gas production in North America were to be recovered, it would be equivalent to all of the lithium mined worldwide in 2017.
A faster-charging, more environmentally friendly, and up to three times longer-lasting lithium battery has been created in Australia using graphene, a carbon substance, by Canada’s Graphene Manufacturing Group and The University of Queensland.
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Content Source: Aljazeera
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