March 15, 2023: NewzPepper explains the excitement behind this discovery. What do we plan to use Lithium for? A ReferencePepper!
Lithium is a scarce metal essential for the production of electric vehicles, and India just reported its first large finding of lithium reserves.
On Thursday, the government said that 59 Lakh tonnes(1 tonne = 1000 KG) of the element had been found in Jammu and Kashmir.
India had up to now relied on importing lithium from Australia and Argentina.
According to the Indian Ministry of Mines, the Geological Survey of India discovered the lithium reserves in the Salal-Haimana region of the Reasi district in Jammu and Kashmir. This news was released in the month of February 2023.
Lithium resources that were significantly smaller were discovered in the southern state of Karnataka in 2021. The government has previously stated that it was searching for sources in India and overseas to increase its supply of rare metals needed to advance innovative technologies.
First, let's get to know Lithium a bit better?
Lithium is part of the alkali metal group. At room temperature lithium is a soft metal that is silvery-white in color.
- It is the least dense of the solid elements and is the lightest of all the metals.
- It has the highest specific heat capacity of any solid element. (Specific heat is defined by the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of a substance 1 degree Celsius °C.) This means that comparitively a large amount of heat is required to raise the temperature of Lithium. This makes it extremely useful in batteries etc.
- Lithium is very reactive and flammable.
- Needs to be stored in mineral oil as it will react with air or water.
- It can cause burns if it comes into contact with the skin.
Where are the reserves?
As per Statista, as in 2022, the Countries with the largest reserves of Lithium are Chile, Australia, Argentina, China and the United States...in that order.
But these are reserves.
The top 5 producers in 2022 were Australia, Chile, China, Argentina and Brazil
Why is everyone so excited about this discovery in India?
Over the last 1 month every newspaper and online channels have been screaming about this find
Lithium is a crucial component of rechargeable batteries, which power many devices, including electric vehicles, laptops, and smartphones.
But there's more:
As per Statista, the end usage of Lithium world wide, by application:
According to experts, India's plans to expand the number of private electric cars by 30% by 2030 as part of measures to reduce carbon emissions to combat global warming may benefit from the revelation.
The demand for rare metals, particularly lithium, has grown globally as nations strive to implement cleaner solutions to halt climate change.
In order to achieve the world's climate goals by 2050, the mining of essential minerals will need to expand by 500%, as stated by the World Bank.
The above image makes it very clear that the maximum use of Lithium is for batteries.
But why are Lithium batteries the preferred choice?
- Lithium batteries are super light weight compared to other batteries.
- High energy density: Energy Density (Wh/kg) is a measure of how much energy a battery can hold. Without getting into technical stuff, in simple words, it means that the higher the energy density, the longer the battery will last before it needs recharging. A great example is mobile phone battery which can operate the phone for a long time.
- Self-discharge: Simply explained, it is the electrical capacity or the storage charge due to internal chemical reactions. It is a characteristic of the battery itself. All batteries self - discharge but Lithium batteries have a lower rate of self-discharge.
- Higher Cell voltage: The voltage produced by each lithium ion cell is about 3.6 volts. The voltage of each lithium ion cell is higher which means it requires less cells in most battery applications. Take for example smartphones - a single cell.
- Lithium - ion batteries have an advantage of being low maintenance
Photo by Auguras Pipiras on Unsplash
With all these qualities and more, Lithium batteries have become a Super Star. A Super Star which is used in various industries and our everyday lives.
There are a few disadvantages as well like being expensive, shorter life span, quick degradation when exposed to very high temperatures etc. but still a superstar
So far all sounds well. So, what's the problem?
-Is it too early to get excited? Why?
The environmentalists are concerned. Why?
The local population is worried. Why?
Find out the answers in the article coming up soon -
Getting To Know Lithium Better. ReferencePepper Part- 2