Tesla aims to mine its own lithium in Nevada after dropping plan to buy miner

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But so far no company has been able to mine lithium from clay commercially

Elon Musk told investors last week that Tesla has secured access to 10,000 acres of lithium-rich clay deposits in Nevada and planned to use a new, “very sustainable way” of extracting the metal.

Tesla Inc. secured its own lithium mining rights in Nevada after dropping a plan to buy a company there, according to people familiar with the matter.

The automaker held discussions in recent months with Cypress Development Corp., which is seeking to extract lithium from clay deposits in southwest Nevada, but the parties didn’t reach a deal, the people said, asking not to be named because the information isn’t public. The electric car maker, which has vowed to slash its battery costs by 50 per cent, instead focused on the plan that chief executive Elon Musk outlined last week to dig for lithium on its own in the state.

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Chinese shadow growing longer over India’s electric-vehicle dream

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India’s dream of getting more and more middle-class families to use electric vehicles (EVs) seems to be hinging to Beijing, which controls the supply of some key battery components. And this might well become another flashpoint in the volatile relations between India and China.

With nations placing a strategic interest in controlling the supply chain, political interference in mining activities is increasingly making the availability of lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper scarce, EV major Tesla has warned. India might soon have to join a global struggle for Lithium, the most consequential of these minerals.

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The holy grail of lithium batteries

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Mark Bissett, lecturer in nanomaterials at The University of Manchester, poses for a photograph holding a model showing the hexagonal structure of graphene inside a laboratory at the National Graphene Institute facility, part of the The University of Manchester, in Manchester, U.K., on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Researchers are studying ways to use graphene in batteries, and the material has the potential to significantly boost performance in a much-needed technology.

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Life-blood of Tesla batteries hits supply limits in Andean mine

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For the past nine months, a U.S. company that is the world’s largest producer of lithium—a key ingredient in electric-car batteries—has been locked in battle with the Chilean government over pricing issues, production quotas, and environmental compliance. With no resolution in sight, the fight is sending tremors all the way up the electric vehicle supply chain that provides batteries to Tesla Inc., Nissan Motor Co., Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, and other car makers.

The drama is playing out in the northern reaches of Chile’s Andes Mountains amid the arid and austere Atacama Desert, a vast, high-altitude bowl surrounded by snow-capped volcanic peaks named after ancient gods of the indigenous people. The U.S. company, Albemarle Corp., has taken over a massive salt-flats mine, pumping scarce briny water through dried-out salt marshes and lagoons to extract the prized mineral. A dozen or so miles away, thick flocks of Andean flamingos feed peacefully in a lagoon teaming with tiny shrimp, as they have for countless millennia. But as mining activity surges, water tables are falling amid growing environmental concerns.

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This new Lithium battery tech can simply suck up CO2 to power itself

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We need this right now!

Everybody knows the world’s got a serious carbon dioxide problem, but an ingenious and potentially cost-effective way of dealing with our surplus CO2 could provide the means of tomorrow’s battery technology.

For years scientists have looked at ways of capturing carbon and storing it underground or even potentially in the ocean. But a new system might offer a powerful advantage over these efforts.

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The death of the internal combustion engine

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“HUMAN inventiveness…has still not found a mechanical process to replace horses as the propulsion for vehicles,” lamented Le Petit Journal , a French newspaper, in December 1893. Its answer was to organise the Paris-Rouen race for horseless carriages, held the following July. The 102 entrants included vehicles powered by steam, petrol, electricity, compressed air and hydraulics. Only 21 qualified for the 126km (78-mile) race, which attracted huge crowds. The clear winner was the internal combustion engine. Over the next century it would go on to power industry and change the world.

The big end

But its days are numbered. Rapid gains in battery technology favour electric motors instead (see Briefing ). In Paris in 1894 not a single electric car made it to the starting line, partly because they needed battery-replacement stations every 30km or so. Today’s electric cars, powered by lithium-ion batteries, can do much better. The Chevy Bolt has a range of 383km; Tesla fans recently drove a Model S more than 1,000km on a single charge. UBS, a bank, reckons the “total cost of ownership” of an electric car will reach parity with a petrol one next year—albeit at a loss to its manufacturer. It optimistically predicts electric vehicles will make up 14% of global car sales by 2025, up from 1% today. Others have more modest forecasts, but are hurriedly revising them upwards as batteries get cheaper and better—the cost per kilowatt-hour has fallen from $1,000 in 2010 to $130-200 today. Regulations are tightening, too. Last month Britain joined a lengthening list of electric-only countries, saying that all new cars must be zero-emission by 2050.

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Sugar battery could soon be powering your electronics

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A demonstration of two sugar biobatteries connected in a series to power a digital clock.

Almost all living cells break down sugar to produce energy. Researchers at Virginia Tech say they have developed a battery that can store the most energy for its weight using sugar as a fuel source by mimicking what plants and animals do naturally..

 

 

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IBM’s oxygen powered battery

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IBM has built a battery that needs oxygen to live.

In an effort to build a battery capable of powering a car for 500 miles, IBM has designed a battery that produces power by taking in oxygen and then recharges by expelling oxygen. Such a battery can be significantly smaller and lighter than traditional lithium ion batteries, providing a much longer life per square inch since it is driven by the outside air. (Video)

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Geothermal power plants could be a massive source of Lithium for batteries

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The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant in Þingvellir, Iceland.

In absolute terms, lithium is not particularly rare on Earth. It’s the 25th most abundant element, close to nickel and lead. Bolivia alone is estimated to have enough lithium to make batteries for 4.8 billion electric cars, and since lithium is not destroyed in use – unlike fossil fuels – old batteries can be recycled into new ones, or used to smooth out the output of wind farms.
So the question isn’t: Will we have enough lithium? Rather, it’s more like: As demand for it explodes, can we ramp up production rapidly enough, at a low enough cost, and while keeping it as environmentally-friendly as possible. It’s still probably going to be much better to make a battery once and then use it for years with progressively cleaner electricity (as the grid incorporates more and more renewable energy) rather than fill up a gas tank with non-renewable fossil fuels from halfway around the world every week, but even in that scenario, it’s going to be better if we can get the lithium cleanly and close to where we’ll use it. That’s where geothermal power plants enter the picture…

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World’s Largest Deposits of Lithium Discovered in Afghanistan Could Alter Their Economy

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Pentagon study says Afghanistan may have among the world’s largest deposits of lithium.

A large mineral deposit worth an estimated $1 trillion has been discovered in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials revealed today. The find could change the nation’s economy, alter the war, and contains vast amounts of lithium—found in many of today’s batteries.

 

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MIT Scientists Create First Magnetic Gas

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For decades, scientists have debated whether or not gasses could display the same magnetic properties as solids. Now, thanks to some MIT scientists, they know the answer is a freezing cold yes.  MIT researchers have observed magnetism in an atomic gas of lithium cooled down to 150 millionths of a degree above absolute zero. This experiment represents a point of unification between condensed matter research and the field of atomic science and lasers, and could influence areas such as data storage and medical diagnostics.

 

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