Sales of electrical vehicles have recently surged , so the demand for lithium has gone up immensely. Lithium, however, which is a light metal, highly essential for the production of rechargeable batteries that can be power-packed, is not found everywhere and in high quantities. Scientists are now considering to use another method for the extraction of lithium. They are hoping to get it straight out of seawater.
What Do Scientists Say?
Jang Wook Choi, a chemical engineer affiliated with the Seoul National University, has recently mentioned that this is a huge step for the sector. He also declared that this particular approach could be very useful for getting back the lithium for batteries that are used, then thrown away.
All about Lithium
Lithium is not your everyday chemical element. It is especially useful for rechargeables because it can store more energy by weight than other battery materials can. It is especially useful for people within the industry because manufacturers use over 160,000 tons of lithium every single year. That number is believed to grow extensively over the next decade, even as much as ten-fold. The problem with this exponential growth is that supplies of the material are highly limited and concentrated in a small number of countries. The countries where lithium is located are places where the material is either mined or extracted from waters, but not from seawater. Rather, it is extracted from the more briny waters out there.
The rarity of lithium has worried people that shortages of lithium in the future could lead to battery prices to rise by a lot. The growth of electric vehicles could be stunted by a lot and some technologies that are highly dependent on lithium, such as Tesla Powerwalls, for which functioning without lithium would not be cost effective at all, stationary batteries are usually used to keep rooftop solar power in one place.