We have all been witness to the meteoric rise of Tesla’s stock price since the beginning of the year. With a market capitalization now worth significantly more than Ford and GM combined, the electric vehicle producer and battery maker is showing us the way to a sustainable energy future.
Others are following in Tesla’s footsteps. GM has recently announced a $2.3 billion joint venture battery factory, in partnership with LG Chem, to produce cells for 20 new electric vehicles the company plans to introduce globally by 2023. Ford has announced plans for several all-electric vehicles including its widely popular F-150. The future is upon us, but a few obstacles remain in our path.
A major component for both electric vehicles (EVs) and large-scale battery storage for renewable energy production, lithium is set to play a key role in the renewable energy revolution. Both EVs and such energy storage rely on lithium as an absolutely essential, non-replaceable component of the battery, making the metal one of the most sought after resources on the energy market. People are already calling lithium “white petroleum“, and I am convinced over the coming decades it will replace oil and gas as the most important natural resource in the world; the backbone to our energy infrastructure.
Demand for battery energy storage is expected to grow exponentially over the next 10-20 years and beyond, underpinned by increasing awareness of the need to limit fossil fuel usage. As a result, lithium demand in 2018 of 270,000 metric tons of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) is expected to reach more than 1,000,000 metric tons of LCE by 2025, with some estimates as high as 1.5 million.