Demand for lithium should surpass global production by 10,000 tons
Lithium is only produced in China and Australia
Recycling used battery packs could be a solution
Lithium is a metal that is widely used in the manufacture of batteries of all kinds. One of the industries that consumes the largest amounts of lithium is the automotive industry, since the vast majority of electric cars use lithium-ion batteries.
With the growing demand for electric vehicles comes a increasing demand for lithium, but this resource is not as available as many would hope.
Indeed, several companies in the tech world, notably Nikon, are complaining about a lack of lithium which could slow down their production in the coming year.
In addition, analysts predict that demand for lithium will soon exceed the global supply of the resource by more than 10,000 tons.
Faced with this problem, companies in the automotive field are looking for alternative materials that could replace lithium in battery construction, but these efforts still do not seem to have achieved meaningful results.
A solution that seems more promising is the recycling of used batteries, which would theoretically make it possible to produce new batteries using very little newly mined lithium.
Volkswagen has also presented a program where the company would retain ownership of its vehicles by leasing them to several successive users, which would allow it to recycle batteries and reuse materials to make new cars after the useful life of the vehicle has been exceeded.
On the other hand, the recycling of lithium will have to make enormous progress for this solution to become viable, since only 5% of lithium batteries are currently recycled because this resource is less expensive to produce than it is to repurpose.