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MetalBallStudios – Lithium resources at scale

An evening pause: There is much talk about limits in the availability of lithium and the the control by China of this resource. This video kind of suggests that talk is hogwash. Whether we should mine it for electric cars remains a far different question.

Hat tip Alton Blevins.

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  • Max

    Interesting, if you claim scarcity it drives the price up. Looks like the cats out of the bag on lithium.

    A “new lithium find” 600 feet of an ancient Lake sediment, easily Strip mined with only centrifuge processing is nearly twice as large as the one in Bolivia. (and that’s not counting the Bonneville salt Flats which Salt, magnesium, lithium mining is responsible for the draining of the great Salt Lake)

    World’s Largest Lithium Deposit Found in the US

    “In the study, titled “Hydrothermal Enrichment of Lithium in Intracaldera Illite-Bearing Claystones” published in Science Advances, researchers estimate that the volcanic crater on the Nevada-Oregon border called McDermitt Caldera harbors 20 to 40 mllion metric tons of lithium.“

    “Based on these latest estimates, the McDermitt Caldera contains a staggering amount of lithium, surpassing even the lithium reserves found in Bolivia’s renowned salt flats, which house approximately 23 million tons”

  • Max

    Oh I forgot to mention, in other articles it’s estimated worth is $1 trillion.

  • Phil Berardelli

    Bob, allow me to use this item to urge you to join me in a universal terminology correction. Let’s stop calling them “electric” vehicles or “EVs.” They’re not electrically powered, as are subway trains or some of the commuter trains run by Amtrak. They’re battery powered, like the forklifts used for decades by industry. Maybe this distinction will become apparent as those batteries, like all rechargeables, wear out and must be replaced at exorbitant prices. Of course, whatever we choose to call them, this little episode in transportation history is not going to end well.

  • Phil Berardelli: You are right. As I won’t participate in the language lies of the queer movement, I shouldn’t participate in the lies of the climate gang. It is “battery-powered” from now on.

  • Mike C

    The gorilla in the room with lithium, is processing it into a usable commodity, without making a environmental mess.

    I’m fortunate to be building a plant in Nevada that has a very low environmental impact and a rapid processing time. Direct lithium extraction a sensible approach to tackling the supply problem.

  • Col Beausabre

    BUT BUT The wacky Leftists won’t let it be mined in the US. “We have environmental laws. You want to STRIP MINE IT!?” Falls away in convulsions…..

  • pzatchok

    Actually NASA and the environmentalists are stopping the mining at one location in the US.

    NASA could use calibration markers like everyone else does. Man made ones.

  • Mitch S.

    ” They’re not electrically powered, as are subway trains or some of the commuter trains run by Amtrak. They’re battery powered…”

    Huh? So the neighbor’s Tesla consumes batteries like my Honda consumes gasoline?
    The Honda stores gasoline in a tank and the tank has to be periodically refilled. The Tesla stores electricity in a battery and the battery has to be periodically refilled.
    For my small lawn I use a mower with a motor that I power by an extension cord plugged into the wall. It’s called an “electric mower”
    (or more precisely a “corded electric mower” to distinguish it from the “battery electric mower”) not an “extension cord mower” .
    A Tesla and it’s ilk are called BEVs, Battery Electric Vehicles, or just Electric Vehicles when the discussion doesn’t involve other sorts of electric vehicles (Hybrid Elec Vehicles, Plug in Hybrid Elec Vehicles, Fuel Cell Elec Vehicles).

  • Max

    I saw a bumper sticker on a EV that said powered by coal.

    A coworker told me that he never got more then 180 Miles out of his Tesla when he was promised more than 200. He’s joining the lawsuit for false advertising against Tesla motors. He’s had his car a few years now any barely gets 100 miles on a full charge in the summer, in the winter he can only use it for local commutes. I asked him if he can convert it to a highbred by pulling a 7000 W generator connected to the car. (same as the back up power supply for your house because the Tesla uses about the same amount of power as an AC unit or 10 refrigerators)
    I don’t know enough about teslas if they can be driven while being charged? If so, he will remove his heavy battery and run the car on gasoline through a generator. The car will be far lighter, getting excellent gas mileage, and could be filled anywhere on any endless trip without stopping for most of the day to recharge.
    His homeowners insurance also went up when they learned he had battery powered electric vehicle in his garage, one of the most frequent causes of home fires.

    Diesel electric is the most efficient.
    Freight train locomotives, and above ground massive mining equipment are “diesel powered electric vehicles”. Electric motors have 100% torque at zero RPM.
    Haulage trucks have 3500 horse motors turning alternators large enough to power a small city, using power cables to the “general electric” AC motors, not needing a drive train, (transmission, differentials) or batteries except the ones used to start the vehicle and run the computers, lights, AC, radio, etc.
    Power enough to propel the weight of the vehicle plus a full load equaling more than 700 tons up an 8% grade at 10 miles an hour.
    There is no replacement for carbon-based fuels.
    The exhaust? CO2 and water vapor, the same as you and I and every oxygen breathing life form on this planet.
    CO2 and water, the stuff plants crave!

  • sippin_bourbon

    Convert a Tesla to gas? It is not a single battery he can “pop out”, it is integrated into the vehicle.

    He does not understand the structure of his own car.”He’s had his car a few years now any barely gets 100 miles on a full charge in the summer, in the winter he can only use it for local commutes.”

    The effectiveness of EVs depends on where you are geographically. If you are places where you need a AC all the time, it will diminish your range. Tesla tells people this. So lawsuits are meaningless. And in the winter, it will be using a heater, which also draws amps.

    People buy these to show off and virtue signal without considering these, and other factors. I blame them.
    If I stayed in the city and had nothing but short commutes, and never hauled anything, I would consider one, because it becomes practical. Tesla is a maturing product, but buying one without considering the limits of the tech is just dumb, and not the fault of the company.

    I saw the basics allegation of the lawsuit. It the can prove it, it would be along the same lines as what VW did with the Jetta TDI, claiming 50mpg and faking tailpipe tests.

  • GeorgeC

    For people who can afford 2 or 3 cars then having one battery powered for commute might be ok. But Massachusetts insurance rates, even for liability go up with number of registered cars owned, not just drivers so that 2nd or 3rd car will cost you, in yearly excise tax too. Just waiting for the miles tax and congestion tax.

  • Edward

    Mitch S.,
    Your comparison with your electric mower only highlights the differences between it and battery powered cars. You do not have limitations on how long you can run your mower, but as Max pointed out, not only is the range severely limited on the battery cars, the range depends entirely on how the cars are used (no air conditioning or heating, low speeds on level freeways, no slow and go or stop and go, no extra accessories used, etc.). Max also points out that batteries degrade over time and with usage, so that the range you had with new batteries is not the range you get with aging batteries.

    Are those making cross country trips, really prepared to eat meals to pass the time during each and every recharge? Maybe tourist traps can include charging stations while battery-powered travelers are taking in the sights of that particular historic monument, or whatever. I hope you weren’t in a hurry to get to grandmother’s house.

    Max said that “Diesel electric is the most efficient.,” but overhead electrical catenaries tend to have somewhat better efficiency. They may not be practical for cars, but they work nicely for trains.

    The batteries that most catch fire are the popular lithium batteries. Tesla reduced that risk by using large numbers of small (essentially AA) batteries, and letting air run past them for cooling. The smaller batteries are slower to warm up, with their lower volume to surface area ratio. A decade or more ago, a large lithium ion battery caught fire on a cargo plane and the resulting fire brought it down in a tragic crash. They are now classified as hazardous cargo on airplanes, but then again, so would gasoline cargo.

    Finally, people are now starting to talk about the environmental damage from mining the materials for batteries and for disposal of these batteries. Since they need to be replaced every half decade or so, they are less environmentally friendly than gasoline, which does not require hundreds of times as much rock be mined as the material finally available for use. The use of gasoline results in water (plant food) and carbon dioxide (plant food).

    These so-called electric cars are very different from household electrical devices. The batteries are the major difference.

  • pzatchok

    God spent billions of years storing up solar energy inside carbon based fuels.

    I would think he would want us to try using it as environmentally safe as possible. Which we are now doing. I remember the 79’s.

    By now switching to lithium we are going against his plans.

    Do not fight God.

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