LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES POWER OUR MODERN LIVES

Lithium-ion batteries are incredibly popular these days. You can find them in laptops, PDAs, cell phones, hybrid and electric cars. They’re so common because, pound for pound, they’re some of the most energetic rechargeable batteries available. Compared with traditional battery technology, lithium-ion batteries charge faster, last longer and have a higher power density for more battery life in a lighter package. When you know a little about how they work, the value of the minerals used to produce lithium-ion becomes apparent.

Despite it's light weigh an enormous amount of lithium is needed to power the modern world, now and in the future.

Lithium is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. The element’s high electrochemical potential makes it a valuable component of high energy-density rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. There is concern that the demand for battery metals could increase, possibly to the point at which a shortage of these metals will occur. Lithium is of particular interest because it is the least likely of the battery metals to be replaced by substitution because it has the highest charge-to-weight ratio, which is desired for batteries in transportation and other applications. Despite it light weigh an enormous amount of lithium is needed to power the modern world, now and in the future.

Lithium-ion batteries are the only proven option for electric-vehicle manufacturers.

Tesla is moving quickly to build a $5 billion plant near Reno, Nevada, to produce lithium-ion cells. The plant is expected to come on line in 2017; at full capacity in 2020, it will produce more lithium-ion cells annually than the entire world produced in 2013. Other electric vehicle makers, Nissan and General Motors among them, will be creating their own increasing demand. Tesla’s partner on the Nevada gigafactory is Panasonic, which is rapidly expanding its use of lithium-ion storage in consumer and small-business applications.

WHAT EXACTLY IS IN A SMARTPHONE

The majority of phones use lithium ion batteries, which are composed of lithium cobalt oxide as a positive electrode and graphite (carbon) as the negative electrode. Copper is used for wiring in the phone, whilst copper, gold and silver are the major metals from which microelectrical components are fashioned. Smartphones also have sophisticated sound systems which utilize cobalt in their speaker magnets.

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