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Video: Ever wonder how lithium is mined for batteries?

Discussion in 'Battery Discussion' started by f-stop, Jan 11, 2017.

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  1. f-stop

    f-stop Member

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    just came across this short Bloomberg video with Ashlee Vance (author or Elon Musk biography) visiting a lithium mine in Chile's Atacama Desert. Not a lot of techincal details, but interesting to see, plus a couple mentions of Tesla

    Ever wonder how lithium is mined for batteries?
     
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  2. TrevTremaine

    TrevTremaine Member

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    So, the obvious question is how "green" is lithium?

    If most of it comes from underground wells, allowed to dry in huge ponds on the surface, what are the impacts? Although there's no sign of life around where the mines are (Chilean desert), is there any detrimental effect - by-products, ecological, etc? In my opinion, an independent environmentalist such as David Suzuki would lend credibility to it. I have seen a video of his trip to South American operations, but nothing states exactly the impact.

    I'm also curious about recycling, which hasn't truly caught on yet, and I'm sure that details of the recovery of materials isn't widely known. How much material is wasted/unrecoverable from batteries?

    What would be the future with newer battery material development? How does this impact ecology and recyclability?
     
  3. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Recycling lead acid batteries from ICE starter batteries is a mature industry, no reason why li-ion car batteries couldn't be recycled when there is an industrial supply of them.
     
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  4. TrevTremaine

    TrevTremaine Member

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    True, but given that there's already a great deal of battery usage with cellphones and many other electronic items there's really nothing noted about recovery and recycling of materials.
     
  5. jkn

    jkn Member

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    Lithium makes about 2% of battery, so recycling nickel is more important.

    It is easier to recycle large car battery than collect similar amount of cellphone batteries.
     
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  6. Rossy

    Rossy Supporting Member

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    Found this great talk on Li-Ion battery life research. Note: most of the talk is quite technical. But the PhD guru inventor of the new test technique works for Tesla now. (Not presenter). I loved this talk, but I work in test and measurement.
     
  7. ironcreek

    ironcreek New Member

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    Don't forget that Cobalt is a critical metal to the Lithium battery. At present cobalt is hard to find a u.s.a. supply source.
     
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  8. TrevTremaine

    TrevTremaine Member

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    I've been arguing over the whole idea of using lithium batteries with someone who claims to "know". His claims include how environmentally damaging it is (despite his dismissal over oil and gas extraction - let alone any other mineral extraction), and that a 1KG Lithium battery requires 12.5KG of CO2 to manufacture.

    To counter lithium extraction claims:
    Life Cycle Analysis of Electric Car Shows Battery Has Only Minor Impact

    The claim for CO2:
    How “Green” is Lithium?

    I don't believe the second article, but would like to find reputable sources of information to be able to affirm or deny such claims. It's frustrating trying to clarify what the reality is versus misinformation.
     
  9. jkn

    jkn Member

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    Collecting phone and laptop batteries for recycling is expensive, so it is often not done. Collecting car batteries is much easier.

    Manufacturing lithium batteries is developing fast. So energy usage is probably dropping. Increasing capacity of batteries will of course decrease manufacturing energy / battery capacity. 12.5 kg CO2 is from 2012 study. I don't know how old sources it used. Current value is smaller, probably much smaller.

    12.5 kg/kg battery CO2/kg would be roughly 10000 km of gasoline car emissions. Ignoring energy used to produce gasoline. Which is quite high. Does any refinery tell how high?
     

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