Lithium, the lightest metal known to man, is the key ‘ingredient’ in all modern elecric car and hybrid vehicle battery packs, and with demand on the rise, its price has increased by 35% over the last 18 months.
With demand for lithium-ion batteries expected to double in the next eight years, feasible lower cost solutions need to be found as quickly as possible.
Now, a company based in Pleasanton, California, called Simbol Materials say they may have the answer. Their idea is to capture lithium from salt water evaporation, and their planned plant near the Mexican border would reportedly cut costs considerably.
They plan to produce about 8,000 tons a year at first, rising to 64,000 tons by 2020, which equates to 21% of the current global demand.
The key aspect here is Simbol Materials technology which reportedly cuts the time needed to gather Lithium from evaporating salt water, from the 18 months it usually takes, to a much more reasonable two hours.
With the number of EVs and hybrids projected to increase in coming years, reaching 3.9-million annual hybrid sales, 1.4-million plug-in hybrid sales, as well as 2.8-million all-electric vehicle sales by 2020, the situation is a delicate one, to say the least.