Lithium, the ‘black gold’ of the futureIlumen
Due to the rise of global electric mobility and the storage of renewable energy, the demand for Lithium batteries is increasing faster than ever. The ever increasing demand for these batteries is being answered with a rush to larger and better production facilities.
Several manufacturers like Tesla, LG Chem and governments are therefore investing heavily. However, the increasing demand for production facilities can not only be responded to by larger and better production facilities. The demand for raw materials to produce these batteries will quickly exceed the supply if no changes occur.
The inside of the battery
The parts of a battery can be split up into 3 large groups. The battery consists of a cathode, an anode and the electrolyte.
The cathode consists of a zinc plate covered with cathode powder, which is composed by a mixture of Lithium, Cobalt, Manganese and Aluminium.
The anode then consists of a copper plate covered with anode powder, which consists of different types of raw materials. The type of raw material that is chosen, depends on the type of the Lithium battery. For the standaard Lithium batteries, this is usually graphite. The anode is doped with silicone and a small dose of Lithium.
But why the choice for silicone? Manufacturers use silicones in order to increase the energy density of the battery. This allows more energy to be stored on smaller surfaces. Silicone also contributes to a longer battery life.
A future with Lithium
The main raw materials for batteries in the future will probably be Lithium, Nickel, Graphite and Cobalt. Scientific research shows that by 2025, no less than 408% more of Lithium carbonate, 81% more of Cobalt and 36% more of Nickel are to be produced compared to 2016.
Finally, the expectation is that the prices of batteries will rise slightly, despite better production techniques.