Demand for lithium-based EV batteries could exceed supply of materials before 2025, say researchers

Posted: December 28, 2020 by oldbrew in Batteries, Energy, research, Travel, Uncertainty
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Typical electric car set-up


Researchers cite lithium and cobalt production as the most likely to fall short of expected demand levels in the next few years, if EV take-up grows as desired or mandated by many political leaders. In short, new discoveries of supplies will be required if present battery technology is to be maintained. Failing that, ‘net zero’ may need a plan B.
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As the world shifts to electric vehicles to reduce climate change, it is important to quantify future demands for key battery materials, says TechXplore.

In a new report, Chengjian Xu, Bernhard Steubing and a research team at the Leiden University, Netherlands and the Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S. showed how the demands of a lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese oxide dominated battery will increase by many factors between 2020 to 2050.

As a result, supply chains for lithium, cobalt and nickel will require significant expansion and likely additional resource discovery.

Nevertheless, uncertainties are large relative to the development of electrical vehicle fleets and battery capacities per vehicle.

While closed-loop recycling plays a minor but increasingly important role to reduce the primary material demand until 2050, researchers must implement advanced recycling strategies to economically recover battery-grade materials from end-of-life batteries.

This work is now published on Nature Communications Materials.

Continued here.

Comments
  1. oldbrew says:

    The research report says this is ‘even without taking into consideration the potential additional demand from heavy-duty vehicles and other sectors’. Like shipping, aviation…

    If supplies get tight, prices go up.

  2. Coeur de Lion says:

    I love the thought that ‘a shift to electric vehicles’ is going to ‘reduce climate change’.

  3. Gamecock says:

    ‘if EV take-up grows as desired or mandated by many political leaders’

    ‘If’ is doing a lot of work there. ‘Leaders’ too.

    ‘As the world shifts to electric vehicles’

    [citation needed]

    ‘researchers must implement advanced recycling strategies to economically recover battery-grade materials from end-of-life batteries’

    Researchers implement strategies? What does this even mean? Researchers getting into the recycling business?

  4. oldbrew says:

    Gamecock – ‘researchers must’ looks like a reporting error.

    87 refs to recycling in the Nature report, none to researchers. But at least once they say ‘we’ when they mean ‘the world’ or something e.g.:

    Over the next decades we first need to produce the EV battery stock for a large fleet, mostly from primary materials.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s43246-020-00095-x

  5. oldbrew says:

    China will be happy to dominate battery resource, or any other supposedly climate related, markets wherever possible. If ‘capitalists’ are forced by their own stupidity to pay over the odds, so much the better for the Chinese exchequer.

  6. stpaulchuck says:

    OMG! the world psychotics will go massively untreated! Lithium will be so expensive and so rare those folks will not be able to afford their pills. Of course the way the world is currently acting I think that time has already arrived!

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