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Peak Lithium ?

 
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Mark



Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Posts: 1338
Location: NW England

PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:36 am    Post subject: Peak Lithium ? Reply with quote

European Commission adds lithium to Critical Raw Materials list:
https://www.energy-storage.news/news/european-commission-adds-lithium-to-critical-raw-materials-list

Lithium has been added to a list of raw materials deemed essential to secure supply in Europe, for the first time ever, by the European Commission. Earlier this month the Commission presented its Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials and a “foresight study” on critical raw materials looking ahead to 2030 and 2050, as well as its updated 2020 list of materials. This list is updated every three years and identifies the raw materials that the Commission said are “most important economically and have a high supply risk”.

Continues....
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kenneal - lagger
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Joined: 20 Sep 2006
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Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully they are realising that the exponential growth in economic activity will soon lead to shortages of all raw materials and will act to curtail the cancer of growth.

Oooh look! a flying pig!!!
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adam2
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Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not unduly concerned by lithium shortages.
It is not that rare, nor particularly expensive.
And it can be recycled.
A quadrupling of the lithium price does not imply a similar increase in the cost of lithium batteries since lithium is a small part of the total cost.

Fossil fuels once burnt are gone forever. Metals can be recycled, and often are.

Lithium could be extracted from seawater, and supplies in the sea are almost infinite.

I have received several offers to invest in "lithium prospects" that is not in a working mine but in a company that owns land that MIGHT contain SOME lithium.
Beware and keep wallet shut. Lithium mania might be the modern equivalent of the old tulip bulb mania.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
...............Lithium could be extracted from seawater, and supplies in the sea are almost infinite. .................


Lithium and uranium could be extracted from sea water but can we afford the cost, both monetary and energywise, of doing so.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Extracting JUST lithium from sea water is most unlikely to be viable.
However evaporating sea water using solar thermal energy to produce drinking water is a possibility.
The concentrated brine resulting from this process could be treated to extract various valuable minerals.

With costs shared between fresh water production and production of useful metals, the process could become viable.
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BritDownUnder



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Adam that a multitude of metals could be extracted.

Looking at this article there are a lot of minerals and metals in sea water but they are dominated by common salt (sodium chloride).

Quote:
... with a concentration of 18 980 parts per million (ppm) in seawater, sodium (10 561 ppm), magnesium (1 272 ppm), sulphur (884 ppm), calcium (400 ppm), potassium (380 ppm), bromine (65 ppm), inorganic carbon (28 ppm) and strontium (13 ppm). Then follow boron (4.6 ppm), silicon (4 ppm), organic carbon (3 ppm), aluminium (1.9 ppm), fluorine (1.4 ppm), nitrogen in the form of nitrate (0.7 ppm), organic nitrogen (0.2 ppm), rubidium (0.2 ppm), lithium (0.1 ppm), phosphorous in the form of phosphate (0.1 ppm), copper (0.09 ppm), barium (0.05 ppm), iodine (also 0.05 ppm), nitrogen in the form of nitrite (also 0.05 ppm) and nitrogen in the form of ammonia (once more 0.05 ppm). Thereafter, we have arsenic (0.024 ppm), iron (0.02 ppm), organic phosphorous (0.016 ppm), zinc (0.014 ppm), manganese (0.01 ppm), lead (0.005 ppm), selenium (0.004 ppm), tin (0.003 ppm), caesium (0.002 ppm), molybdenum (also 0.002 ppm) and uranium (0.0016 ppm).


It looks like sodium is about 100,000 times more prevalent in seawater, and potassium about 4000 times more than lithium - both alkali metals. So to get at the lithium you will probably need to remove all the sodium and potassium first to get at the lithium. Not too sure how this can be done cheaply. Maybe fractional crystallisation could get rid of most of the sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is used a lot in industry and potassium is a fertiliser. Surprisingly sodium metal, although highly reactive with water is a very good electrical conductor and was proposed for use in electrical cables in the 1960s in the US.

Later in this article it said that Japanese researchers had worked out a way of extracting the uranium from seawater by chemical means for a bit more than it costs to mine it.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not start with the solar salt they use to deice roads with, which would have the 97.5% water already removed by evaporation?
But at 0.1ppm in seawater you would still need to process 250,000 pounds of salt to get just one pound of lithium and that assumes a 100% efficient extraction process.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
Why not start with the solar salt they use to deice roads with, ...........


We use predominantly mined rock salt to deice roads in the UK.
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