Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Will the world run out of lithium before it runs out oil?

According to the paper listed below, the world could run out of lithium in about 40 years.
My question is: will the silicon nano wire technology that promises to multiply charge holding capacity by 10X need to use (10X?) more lithium to produce that power. Doesn't seem likely; 10X bigger lap top battery: why bother? If multiplying charge holding wont take much more lithium that could stretch supply to as much as 400 years.

A more important question is whether the 10 times more powerful lithium ion batteries will cost 10 times less per KW? Nobody may know the answer at this point. If nano wire tech reduces cost per KW by even half and normal economies of scale reduce battery price in half again, then, lithium ion battery prices may not be so forbidding by early next decade.

$500 lithium ion auto battery? If a 10X power battery is ready to go commercially (5 years according to its Stanford U. developer) would that mean that you could choose a 40 mile range battery at 1/10th the price? It is worth looking into. A Wikipedia article states that a 10X power battery would cost the same or less per watt hour, but the Stanford article did not suggest that a 20 hour notebook battery would cost an arm and a leg. If watt hour price drops with the power increase and higher mass production advantages reduce costs it is conceivable you could choose a 40 hour battery for $500 in the not too distant future.

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