Electric Cars - the discussion continues.

Phil Perry

Well-Known Member
#1
Afeter hearing about certain Governments proclaiming that all road cars are to be electric powered by 2020 / 2025 / 2030 . . . I started reading about this and found some interesting comments.

This one, was an interesting Comment on Surplus Energy Economics blog today. I have not fact checked the data shown herein, I'm still looking.

* * * * * *

"A very large problem we have with all these brave pronouncements and deadline plans is the limits of lithium production.

Presently at current production it would take 200 years to produce the amount needed to transform our petroleum based transport to EV.

Of course that is all dependent on diesel being available to continue mining lithium, which is kind of the problem in the first place. It would require a 1600% increase in production to come anywhere close to the predicted EV development. And that would become far too little considering that Lithium Batteries only have a 10 year life cycle.

So the real production would have to increase by 3200-6400% to be meaningful. But frankly it’s impossible because of two limiting factors. One, there are not enough known lithium resources to meet that demand ( not referring to reserves which are far less )

Secondly there isn’t enough primary energy to accomplish that level of mining. This is particularly true when we consider that lithium unlike oil is not a source of energy. So besides the production of lithium we need to find the energy to power the transportation system. It’s really just an act of desperation."

** Perhaps something other than Lithium can be used as a practical substitute ?. . .Discuss.
 

octave

Well-Known Member
#2
Afeter hearing about certain Governments proclaiming that all road cars are to be electric powered by 2020 / 2025 / 2030 . . . I started reading about this and found some interesting comments.

This one, was an interesting Comment on Surplus Energy Economics blog today. I have not fact checked the data shown herein, I'm still looking.

* * * * * *

"A very large problem we have with all these brave pronouncements and deadline plans is the limits of lithium production.

Presently at current production it would take 200 years to produce the amount needed to transform our petroleum based transport to EV.

Of course that is all dependent on diesel being available to continue mining lithium, which is kind of the problem in the first place. It would require a 1600% increase in production to come anywhere close to the predicted EV development. And that would become far too little considering that Lithium Batteries only have a 10 year life cycle.

So the real production would have to increase by 3200-6400% to be meaningful. But frankly it’s impossible because of two limiting factors. One, there are not enough known lithium resources to meet that demand ( not referring to reserves which are far less )

Secondly there isn’t enough primary energy to accomplish that level of mining. This is particularly true when we consider that lithium unlike oil is not a source of energy. So besides the production of lithium we need to find the energy to power the transportation system. It’s really just an act of desperation."

** Perhaps something other than Lithium can be used as a practical substitute ?. . .Discuss.
Very happy to discuss, but away today will jump into this tomorrow but for now just a little about lithium. There seems to be a common misconception that it is rare. If we are going to discuss these matters it is important that the participants of this discussion are working from fact rather than hearsay. It is important that participants in the conversation know the facts such as, what is lithium?, Where does it come from? How is it extracted? etc. With that in mind here is a short article on lithium.

BU-308: Availability of Lithium – Battery University

Just to throw something else into the discussion - a question, How much electricity is required to refine 1 gallon of petrol?

 

Phil Perry

Well-Known Member
#3
Very happy to discuss, but away today will jump into this tomorrow but for now just a little about lithium. There seems to be a common misconception that it is rare. If we are going to discuss these matters it is important that the participants of this discussion are working from fact rather than hearsay. It is important that participants in the conversation know the facts such as, what is lithium?, Where does it come from? How is it extracted? etc. With that in mind here is a short article on lithium.

BU-308: Availability of Lithium – Battery University

Just to throw something else into the discussion - a question, How much electricity is required to refine 1 gallon of petrol?

Dis is exactly what I'm looking for.. . .Thank you Mr. Octave. Look forward to further input on this subject.

Phil.
 

Old Koreelah

Well-Known Member
#4
During the oil shocks of the 1970s there was considerable interest in electric cars, but one pundit warned that there wasn't enough lead in the world to make all those batteries. That got me wondering about how much lead went into bullets and shells during wartime. If there's sufficient demand, the resource will be produced..
 

Phil Perry

Well-Known Member
#5
Lithium deposits are widespread, but usually contain radioactive thorium.
That makes them more expensive to extract because you have to protect the miners and dispose of all that unsaleable thorium ore safely. . . . .

Always a downside. . . .
 

octave

Well-Known Member
#6
Lithium deposits are widespread, but usually contain radioactive thorium.
That makes them more expensive to extract because you have to protect the miners and dispose of all that unsaleable thorium ore safely. . . . .

Always a downside. . . .
Phill, can't find references to the thorium in relation to lithium but happy to read any links you can provide.

Most of the world's supply of lithium comes from brine lakes via an evaperation process. An Overview of Commercial Lithium Production

Of course, any objection to the use of lithium must also extend to its use in lithium batteries, phone, computers, cameras pacemakers etc.

There is an environmental cost to any technology, so I guess the question is about weighing up the various pros and cons of all of the available options. In terms of running out of lithium, which as you pointed out is very common, the present alternative is petrol which will run out. At present, it is difficult to recycle lithium but it is being done and the process is becoming cheaper.
 

facthunter

Well-Known Member
#7
What about the lithium form recycling what's in the batteries at end of life and a by product from desal plants?. Sea water contains many useful minerals. Nev
 

octave

Well-Known Member
#8
What about the lithium form recycling what's in the batteries at end of life and a by product from desal plants?. Sea water contains many useful minerals. Nev
We have to remember that EVs are in their early stage of development. The internal combustion engine wasn't born fully formed and in the early days was probably more expensive and less efficient than a horse and cart. Every process that humans undertake and every item we build has an environmental cost. I would agree that we probably cannot produce batteries as we do now too far into the future. I would also imagine that the early days of the petroleum industry were probably environmentally awful, indeed they remain not so benign (Deepwater horizon, Amaco cadiz et al).

The notion that the internal combustion engine is the peak technology and will never be replaced is misguided I think. Yes, I am sure there is much about the process for producing lithium that is not good as with many industrial processes but this is the history of human progress, do it poorly at first and get better at it with time and experience, those early rag and wire aircraft had to be built in order to build today's airliners. My first computer was expensive crude and pretty useless compared to this PC but without going through those early stages you don't get to where we are now.

The challenges of producing lithium are being worked on We Need A Better Way To Get Lithium, The Element Powering The EV Revolution | Fast Company
We may vastly improve the procuring of lithium or we may produce batteries with different metals such as Aluminum-graphite or hydrogen fuel cells.

The one thing that we clearly can not do is continue to burn oil (petrol). Crude oil is a miraculous product that has many better uses than burning, such as plastics, chemicals drugs etc. In the future, our ancestors will consider us to be pretty dumb for taking this versatile substance and burning it.

In the end, the EV will not save the world and by itself is not the answer. A few days a week I drive into Melbourne at rush hour. It is bizarre to me that we have constructed a world where thousands of people are willing to sit in a 1500+kg steel box traveling at 10kph or standing still whilst burning fuel. I do look forward to the autonomous vehicle that I do not own but pay for the distance I actually travel. Most vehicles are relatively cheap these days and are built for the average trip to work and maybe to the beach on the weekend. If cars were more fully utilized I think they would be built to better standards, a little like an airliner, which to be economically viable must spend most of each day in the air transporting people and goods.

I do feel like a lot of the criticisms of EVs and alternative technology generally are less technological objections and more to do with politics. I don't often see the same concern over lithium batteries in phones or PCs etc. Conservatism perhaps leads people to be fearful of suspicious of innovation. I personally am excited by the next innovation and can't wait to see what comes next
 

octave

Well-Known Member
#9
Presently at current production it would take 200 years to produce the amount needed to transform our petroleum based transport to EV.
Quite a strange comment. The "current rate of production" is presumably, matched with the current demand for lithium. For example, when I bought my first Dick Smith system 80 computer you could have made the comment that the rate of production could not support a computer in every house, all very well for me to buy a PC but surely we cant build enough for every household. Indeed the same argument could be mounted to the internal combustion powered car at almost any time in its history. It is a common argument against any new technology at any time in history. Can we keep on supplying petroleum? We can keep breeding horses but surely we can't build millions of cars!

Of course that is all dependent on diesel being available to continue mining lithium, which is kind of the problem in the first place. It would require a 1600% increase in production to come anywhere close to the predicted EV development.
The drilling and transport of oil and petroleum also require considerable inputs of oil and diesel etc. Also, remeber that it takes about 4.5kwh of electricity to produce 1 gallon of petrol. We do have to make sure that the comparisons we make are like for like and include the whole chain of energy use.
I am interested in the 1600% increase in production required to produce enough, is that with today's methods, can I see a link to these figures to see what assumptions were made?

So the real production would have to increase by 3200-6400% to be meaningful. But frankly it’s impossible because of two limiting factors. One, there are not enough known lithium resources to meet that demand ( not referring to reserves which are far less )
If those figures are correct (and I am skeptical but again happy to read your sources) then what is the problem, as lithium becomes harder to source than the price of batteries will climb and fewer people will buy them and electric cars and laptops and phones will either disappear or will utilize newer technologies. I am a bit confused by your assertion about lithium. Lithium is not a rare element, yes it takes some effort to extract but so do many of the minerals we rely on.

Secondly there isn’t enough primary energy to accomplish that level of mining. This is particularly true when we consider that lithium unlike oil is not a source of energy. So besides the production of lithium we need to find the energy to power the transportation system. "
True lithium is more like the fuel tank of your car. we do not judge the economic viability of a cars fuel tank by the initial cost to store only 60 litres but by its storage capacity over its whole life. Yes, a lump of lithium and a litre of fuel are very different things, you can only burn a litre of fuel once! To compare the energy required to produce petrol and lithium we need to work out how much energy goes into its production and the fact in its lifespan. The lifespan of a litre of fuel is very short and although it is at this stage no very cost effective lithium can and is on a small scale at least being recycled or just reused (EV batteries still have plenty of life and can and are used in stationary power supplies)

It’s really just an act of desperation
If you are correct then lithium battery market will surely crash soon what with all of the big manufacturers moving to electric. We should be able so to see the decline in EV car sales quite soon. What are your predictions 5 years maybe? Hey we have a little wager!

By the way how much llithium in a tesla car battery, the answer is 2% by volume.

Elon Musk: Our lithium ion batteries should be called Nickel-Graphite…
 
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spacesailor

Well-Known Member
#12
** Perhaps something other than Lithium can be used as a practical substitute ?. . .Discuss.
We can, as often do,
all things old is new again.
When fuel was unobtainable in the 30s & 40s. lots of vehicles used bags of gas for fuel, weather it was chuck-poo or wood burners,
it got you around to your destination, and to day we can use our old "dive tanks" to compress the "chuck-poo" gas into,
no mining for lithium, like open cut coal.
spacesailor
 

octave

Well-Known Member
#13
Electric cars - The discussion continues - does it? it seems to have petered out. Phil, I am anxiously awaiting your input.

This one, was an interesting Comment on Surplus Energy Economics blog today. I have not fact checked the data shown herein, I'm still looking
Here is the fundamental difference between us. I get my information, not from what some bloke "reckons" on a blog but from expert opinion and then I cross check it with other experts. I know you don't trust the elitist experts (except when you are unwell and perhaps need an operation) but you can't expect to sway anyone's opinions without presenting verifiable evidence.










 

Phil Perry

Well-Known Member
#14
Electric cars - The discussion continues - does it? it seems to have petered out. Phil, I am anxiously awaiting your input.
Here is the fundamental difference between us. I get my information, not from what some bloke "reckons" on a blog but from expert opinion and then I cross check it with other experts. I know you don't trust the elitist experts (except when you are unwell and perhaps need an operation) but you can't expect to sway anyone's opinions without presenting verifiable evidence.
Thank you Mr Octave. However I have to take issue with your use of the word 'Fundamental'.

'Fundamental' is an All encompassing description. Acceptance of this label assumes that you and I are Worlds apart in everything. I have to disagree with this description for obvious reasons.

1) We both obviously like, enjoy, and take part in flying aeroplanes of some sort. . ., or have so done, and have enjoyed it immensely, along wioth it's associated subjects. Otherwise, we would not be using this site, which is an offshoot of a very popular place frequented as it is by 'Aviators'. Which, incidentally we both seem to occupy too from time to time.

2) You are a Mentor of Music. You teach people the magic. . . I am not, but I have been playing music in the public sphere in various manners for over forty five years. On this we we are obviously of like mind also.

You seem to me to be a very intelligent man but one who likes all the boxes ticked and all the references triple checked, before entering into discussion about other subjects, where the original intention was ( to me anyway ) to create a discussion on a very interesting subject.

This is hardly a FUNDAMENTAL difference between our mindsets,. .it is merely one . . (.unless you wish to point out others )

If you require that all of my future posts be like reading a page from Wikipedia, with citations and embedded references every five words, then I shall try my best so to do.

I have taken on board your serious critique and would like to remain friends. ( If that's OK with you )

Kind regards. . .

Phil.
 

nomadpete

Well-Known Member
#16
In support of Octave (and yourself), I enjoy everybody's input on a debate. But it does help create credibility of any strongly differing argument (or point of view), if it can be given a factual reference. This encourages readers to further their minds (read up on it) and prevents incorrect assumptions which may (and often does) reduce a thread to the level of unsubstantiated argument. I don't think anyone expects all statements to be "triple checked" or to read like wiki. That is an over reaction.
You are both highly regarded on the forum, and provide plenty of thought provoking information and levity.
Kind regards,
Peter
 

Phil Perry

Well-Known Member
#18
Good to see you made it out of my driveway without killing yourself!
Now you're mixing up Fundamentalism with Foundations and fundament. . . . you need at least 6 inches of hardcore before laying a tarmac driveway Y'know. . .otherwise it'll sink and get lumpy and that's in a COLD country mate. . . .. . .
 

octave

Well-Known Member
#19
and would like to remain friends. ( If that's OK with you )
Absolutely, just a robust conversation. My comment perhaps was on the edgy side but you have to allow for the time difference when I typed that reply it was well within shiraz hour.

On a more serious note, it does bother me that we seem to be sliding into an era where opinion and fact seem to have become interchangeable.

Can I just say that many of the points I made were facts I did not know before searching for information. 48 hours ago I had no idea how lithium was produced but fascinated to learn about brine lakes and even petrolithium.
 
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Phil Perry

Well-Known Member
#20
In support of Octave (and yourself), I enjoy everybody's input on a debate. But it does help create credibility of any strongly differing argument (or point of view), if it can be given a factual reference. This encourages readers to further their minds (read up on it) and prevents incorrect assumptions which may (and often does) reduce a thread to the level of unsubstantiated argument. I don't think anyone expects all statements to be "triple checked" or to read like wiki. That is an over reaction.
You are both highly regarded on the forum, and provide plenty of thought provoking information and levity.
Kind regards,
Peter

An important point to remember Pete,. . . NOTHING is 'Factual'. . .what we see is the 'OPINIONS' of those who are deemed to be 'EXPERTS' in their various fields . . .nothing more. Many 'EXPERT' opinions and details pronounced as undeniable 'FACTS' are dissembled later by other 'EXPERTS' with equally compelling data to 'Prove' their case . . .such has it been since time immemorial. . . it is an ongoing evolution, which, in turn, collects it's groupies. . . .
 
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