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Lithium Stocks could rise

Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:00 pm

I just read an article in the Vancouver Business News about companies that mine lithium.

Apparently world wide stock piles of Lithium are not very large. Just the Nissan Leaf alone, when released in 2010, would use up about 10% of the world's stock of lithium. Just imagine what will happen when other automakers follow Nissan and build their own electric cars!

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Re: Lithium Stocks could rise

Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:01 pm

Is lithium really that popular? I had no idea.

Is the Leaf going to use lithium-ion batteries? Those have been around for like 10 years. There's really nothing better out there yet?

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Re: Lithium Stocks could rise

Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:03 pm

Lithium is the lightest metal, and in an electric car, I'll take all the weight savings I can get.
I think that's the main reason they are still using lithium ion battery technology.

It also has no memory effect, so you wouldn't have to drive your Nissan until it ran out of power and THEN charge it.
You can plug in your car every chance you get.

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Re: Lithium Stocks could rise

Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:48 pm

If Lithium is so precious, I guess prices will have to rise! Right now lithium batteries are really the only mass-produced item that use lithium.

Doesn't it seem strange that Nissan would drop so much money into creating an all electric vehicle to be 'green' and yet lithium batteries are filling up landfills all over the place?

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Re: Lithium Stocks could rise

Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:51 pm

I think you are getting a little ahead of yourself nissanrules.

Really any battery or any car for that matter, electric or not, will eventually end up in a landfill. Also keep in mind that the lithium batteries are rechargeable, so they wouldn't end up in landfills for at least 5 years :D

Nissan isn't the only company doing it, Toyota, Honda, and Chevy with it's Volt are all basing their electric vehicles off of lithium-ion or lithium-something batteries. It's the best battery out their today. Once someone invents something better that holds more charge, has more useful cycles (charge and recharge) and is lighter, everyone will jump to that. Until that happens... lithium stocks will continue to rise.

That's my 2 cents :mrgreen:

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Re: Lithium Stocks could rise

Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:15 pm

Okay, several things.

First, car batteries are the single most heavily recycled object on Earth, bar none. Now, that's largely because they're lead-acid, and the economics works out much better for recycling PbA. But part of the reason why recycling li-ion isn't more profitable is that because... wait for it...

*Lithium is cheap*

Lithium carbonate, the primary form lithium is traded in, generally costs $4-8 per kilogram. That's dirt cheap. That's why we can get away with using it in cheap products like lithium greases and glasses. Nissan has publicly stated that the Leaf contains 4kg of lithium metal equivalent. That's something like lower-20s (too lazy to do the math right now) kilograms of carbonate, or just over $100 or so worth of carbonate. In short, a virtually insignificant fraction of the price of the vehicle. The price could double. It could triple. It could 10x, and you'd still barely notice it.

Reserves figures are for *current technology* at *the current price point*. Change either of those two factors and the scale of reserves figures radically changes**. For example, if lithium prices rise to somewhere in the $20-$35/kg range, it becomes economical to extract lithium from seawater -- and the amount of lithium in seawater is virtually limitless. Even at the upper end of the current range, huge new reserves are starting to come online. For example, the Kings Valley, Nevada isn't factored into current reserves figures, yet there's a new mine being built there by Western Lithium Corp. They've decided that tech has advanced enough and the price point is high enough that it's now profitable. That deposit alone nearly has as much lithium as the entire current "reserves" figure for the world combined.

There is, and will always be, scaremongering about various resources. Occasionally, it's even valid. But in the case of lithium, it absolutely is not. The primary risk for lithium is about scaling -- that is, whether production of EV batteries requires an increase in global lithium production faster than we can develop new mines and processing plants to produce it.

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Re: Lithium Stocks could rise

Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:20 am

In the Media section I watched a video where Mark Perry, from Nissan, said that when the batteries are replaced in the LEAF, the old batteries will go to electric companies who will use them to store electricity. I was surprised by that statement, but he said they are already in conversation with some electric companies to work out such an arrangement. No land fills for the LEAF batteries.
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Re: Lithium Stocks could rise

Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:48 am

Indeed. Nissan has said that they expect the average user's battery to have 70-80% capacity left at the end of 10 years. Why would you waste that? With most types of li-ion, the rate of capacity degradation slows over time rather than rising.

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Re: Lithium Stocks could rise

Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:07 pm

That's an excellent use for battery packs with 3/4 of their capacity left in them..

I bet Nissan will even provide a few packs to utilities that they have agreements with, for use with testing V2G technology, and for them to experiment with. Several used Leaf packs setup and charged could avert a utility keeping "spining reserves" running for peak load times, that could save utilities a lot of money on fuel as well.
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Re: Lithium Stocks could rise

Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:33 pm

Another option for the future could be used to buffer power to rapid charging stations.

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