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March 14, 2007



I would like one of these units, 30-35 miles a charge would be quite adequate for 80% of my usage. Howver this is not a large scale answer to the emissions and peak oil problem.
Lithium is a substance that is in relatively tight supply and there are few large, affordable deposits and the world total reserves are about 11 million metric tons, a drop in the bucket when considering mineral resources.

Further Lithium is mostly found in remote areas of China, Chile, Argentian, Tibet, and Boliva, which are all either in the China Camp or South American which is becoming increasing anti west. There is simply not enough lithium to make 100s of million cars in a cheap and timely maner. For those who can afford them they will be very nice cars but they will not meet our needs long term.


Gab, you are wrong. look through other energy related blogs. There is enough Lithium for BILLIONS of cars. This claim of Lithium shortage was discredited.


GAB, the claim of peak-lithium is being pushed by one Muslim who is unhappy that oil consumption will decline and middle easterners will have to get a real job. And of course some anti-science anti-progress post-colonial leftists as usual are backing this up.

There is so much lithium (31st most abundant element on earth) that you can replace all vehicles tens if not hundreds or thousands of times over. Price of lithium will go up, but then will drop as production increases take over. But that shortage is only a 2nd order effect.

A lithium-ion battery is 7% lithium by weight. A 35 KWh battery pack for a range of 120 miles contains only 24 kg of lithium. And that is 100% non-toxic and fully recyclable.

And BTW, this same person is claiming that 9/11 was caused by a nuclear explosion masterminded by Bush.

Is there any surprise that conspiracy theorists are the ones pushing peak-lithium?


Does anyone know of any capacity increase forecasts for nano-lithium technology? What are the insiders predicting for unit energy capacity increase for the next 2 years? The next 5 years?



Picture of huge A123 batteries.

Also, A123 is now offering conversion kit for HEV to PHEV.

Don Scherer

Mysteries abound. Here, we are told this vehicle can go 30 to 35 miles on one charge using TWO batteries (the one that comes with the car, plus the A123 battery). Elsewhere, we are told that the AltairNano battery (all by itself) will propel the Phoenix Motorcar vehicle 100 to 130 miles on one charge. Some of these battery claims would make excellent material for the Myth Busters team. We probably will not know the truth until Phoenix actually puts one of their vehicles in the hands of an end-user. Apparently, that has not yet happened.

motorcycle oil

A few years ago, it was difficult to find synthetic motor oils, and equally difficult to find someone who admitted to using them. Nowadays, however, you can find synthetic motor oils on the shelves of Wal-Mart, and other retailers, and the number of people turning to synthetic motor oils, particularly in light of the recent events affecting fuel prices, has risen greatly.

So why do people use synthetic motor oils rather than sticking with the old petroleum based stand-bys which are admittedly cheaper?

1. Let's start with the cost per quart issue. Synthetic motor oils ARE more expensive at purchase. However, these oils last longer, requiring fewer oil changes. As a synthetic motor oil outlasts several changes of petroleum based lubricants, the ultimate out-of-pocket cost of the lubricant is less. This cost savings becomes even greater if you have someone else change your oil for you rather than doing it yourself!

eric lm

When you're buying a motorcycle you need to know about bikes, but you also need to know about how to buy a bike, and that has nothing to do with engines and manufacturing. One important detail where a lot of people that purchase motorcycles go wrong is getting the right loan.


Actually I got my information from mining news sites, and us gov stats.

The mining community has been saying for some time that they are not going to be able to meet short term demand for lithium if hybrids and plugins take off, and may never meet the total demand "at an economical price" if this technology is going to become standard. Distilling ocean water or hard rock mining is a lot more expensive and energy intensive than digging bolivian Lithium salts and these salts are limited. This will also mean these technologies will never go to the developing world.

The current 13 mill+ tonnes of lithium reseves are a good sized number but these are reserve levels, they do not nessessarily constitute economically viable reserves at todays price and the mines to utilize these deposits are not built. Current production is about 24000 tonnes which is in the range of present demand, there is no sizable surplus being produced.

New mines do not open up over night, cost a lot to rush into new development and they typically mine the higherst qualtity cheapest sources first. These sources are lithium salts which are only a portion of the reseves. As they deplete these lithium salts the prices of lithium will increase drastically as we revert back to hard rock mining supplies. Prices will also increase in the near future from supply/demand issues as demand increases faster than production.

I said they could not produce the millions of cars in a cheap and timely manner. This is true. We rich westerners can do our part by buying hybrids or eventually plug-ins but not as fast as emerging nations are putting new cars on the road. There were 600+ million cars in 2001. Our growth is slow but China is adding 9million a year. It is doubtfull lithium production meet this kind of demand anytime soon. End oil will probably take the cars off the road before hybrids will replace them.

About 1/4 of lithum is used in batteries of all types

Less than 1% of new cars are hybrid in the U.S. and almost no plugs in.

If a modest goal of 4% of all new cars were hybrids lithium mining would need to at least double asuming no growth in other lithium uses. Just to replace China's new cars would require a tripling of supply. This level of supply growth will take a number of years.

AS for peak Lithium we are heading for not peaks but shortages in many things. Many new technologies look promising but more and more of them use minerals that are not common, not commonly mined or expensive. There are shotages or impending shortages in moly, gallium, geranium, thalium, silicon, silver, uranium, nickel just to nake a few These shortages are going to thwart our progress short term on Photovoltics, led lighting, reducing the weights of the metal in cars, high tempature super conductors, nuclear power and various battery technolgy and many other possible fixes for our energy woes. There are too many people demanding too much of everything and a lifestyle change is required just as much if not more than technical fixes.

Mining has been out of favour for so long there are shortages in equipment such as drills, earth movers, giant tires, grinding mills, refineries and more importantly a huge shortage in geologists and trained miners to do the work. We are going to see various waves of short and long term mineral shortages, some will have easy substitutes some will not. Changing from the status quo always brings new challenges and it will not be smooth or orderly.

Discrediting a persons entire body of work for one whacko article does not make sense, everybody believes at least one stupid thing!

Others before this guy have questioned Lithium supply, watch for a lithium EFT or hedge fund shortly, this is a sure sign someone sees a shortage comming and plans to exploit it.


What about EEStor, would these same shortages apply to their ultracapacitor? Maybe we'll be mining the moon next?


I'm not familiar with the supply/demand on barium nitrate and titanium. As I understand it barite is often found as a waste mineral in lead, zinc, silver and other ores as well as in vein structures alone, so we should have ample supply unless huge amounts are needed. It is mined in North America, but we are not big producers. It's really all about the speed of demand increase, is there slack and how fast can a new industry use up the slack? How fast can miners react to new demand, 5-10 years is usual development time one new mines.

Titanium- I'm not sure about supply, I do now there was a shortage durring the cold war as Russia sat on big deposits, they had enough you could buy titanium crow bars. I do know it had a 300% price spike in 2005 which could imply a tight market.

Quinto Resources has found a nice sized titanium deposit in Canada, and one of purest graphit deposits ever found, so we should have supply to make batteries and very light cars should someone bother to design it.

Canadian silver bug

Just as an example of the problems in the resource market here is an article about China banning certain rare earths that the west needs for elecronics.

GABs point about the development of resources in time to meet demand is moot when you consider the economic sabotage being waged by China and Russia towards the west.

If you can't develop your own strategic resources you are at the mercy of your less than friendly trading partners.


Jim from The Energy Blog

I just received a copy of a very exhaustive report on the mineral resources and their costs for various types of batteries. I cannot cite it because it is an expensive limited edition report. According to this report Gab is not too far off in his comments. They conclude that, even though lithium is a very common element the commercially exploitable resources are small and could not support a large lithium battery market. Costs are already escalating due to increased demand.

They said that widescale use of NiMh batteries are also not practical from either a cost or resource consideration.

They concluded that the Zinc-air battery was the only new battery technology that could be justified from a resource point of view. They claimed that a rechargable zinc oxide battery still needed a lot of R&D to improve its longevity. If anyone has any info on this point I would appreciate a reference.

I would add to this, that the Firefly battery technology keeps looking better and better, with a plentiful resource base, recycling technology in place and low costs promised.


From my understanding, titanium is only limited by current extraction and processing. When I first started doing my research on ALTI... I found the collaboration ALTI had with GE and DARPA. DARPA started a research grant headed by Titanium Metals back in 2004. It's goal was to increase production of titanium. Here is the old link...


ALTI got a European patent and Titanium Metals grew 10 fold in a few years. From losing money in 2004 to revenues of $1.2 billion in 2006 w/ $1 billion in backlog. Great success story. This is a lil excerpt from the article explaining the titanium situation. This is from 2004 so numbers should be a lil different now, but I'm sure it'll be about the jist of it...


Titanium is the 10th most abundant element in the earth's crust and the 4th most abundant structural metal. Titanium metal has unique physical and chemical properties including high strength-to-weight ratio, good corrosion resistance and excellent ballistic armor protection while offering appreciable weight reduction over conventional steel and aluminum alloys. It is as strong as steel, but 45 percent lighter. It is 60 percent heavier than aluminum, but twice as strong. Titanium is expensive only because the current process for refining the ore to metal is a multi-step, high-temperature batch process.

According to the AMPTIAC Quarterly, a Department of Defense-sponsored publication, current global production of titanium metal is approximately 50,000 tons per year at a market value of $600 million. AMPTIAC estimates that, due to the current state of manufacturing, titanium is produced at only about 1/20th of its current potential world volume. It is widely believed that a reduction of cost in the manufacturing process will expand the use of titanium metal in a wider range of applications that include lightweight armored military vehicles, the manufacture of automotive components and components for utility plants, oil and gas drilling, and lightweight and durable consumer goods.


Sorry I don't have current numbers. I would expect we're about 150,000 tons per year or more if you take into account the revenues and backlog from just Titanium Metals.



I think you are right on Firefly Jimmi.

Here's my reasoning. Pure EVs need better cheaper batteries or ultracapacitors (or some combination thereof) to be competitive in terms of cost and performance. No doubt that will happen eventually.

Meanwhile serial plugin hybrids are the best transition. Since they only need 1/10nth the battery only range and storage capacity, weight and recharge time is not as much of a problem. The much cheaper firefly design fits that bill.

It doesn't need quick charge in order to boost average mileage over 200 mpg and it has unlimited range with a quick fill up at a normal gas station.

Of course a break through could happen in another technology at any time. But a serial plugin hybrid made with the Firefly batteries would remain cost effective for buyers anyway. In fact, the ability to just replace the battery pack as better storage comes along makes the serial plugin hybrid the adaptable technology winner.

I like zinc/air technology too, but it is hard to imagine how a pure EV could be conveniently refilled with zinc, a whole new "gas" station infrastructure would be needed.

Relatively slow charge, cheap batteries with high energy density that are easily plugged in overnight filling the need to power the average daily drive, that is the adsvantage of firefly in serial plugin hybrids. The best design for now and the near future.

A smaller version of solid oxide fuel cell/microturbine to replace the internal combustion generator would also retrofit into a serial plugin hybrid. That's another technology break through coming down the time line.

With three times the efficieny of the ICE generator it could push average mileage past 400 mpg. And so could lighter cheaper batteries. With a simple retrofit replacement of serial plugin hybrid components.


I meant Jim, not Jimmi. Whoops.

Interesting Titanium news Jimmi. Any new Titanium production technology startups coming along? I would think that would be a great area to follow for renewable energy boom trading.

ALTI is well positioned in that area too? If so it makes their management look very good at following multiple revenue paths that protect their battery interests.

On the other hand, who is trying to replace the lithium in nano tech quick charge batteries with a less expensive alternative like zinc or lead? Will Firefly go nano tech? Or use zinc instead of lead?


Great to finally see A123 getting onboard the plugin hybrid trend. But the paralell hybrid Prius technology is already out dated.

Any serial plugin hybrid, like the proposed GM Volt, could easily leapfrog the Toyota and Honda designs.

I think Honda may surprise everyone sometime soon with a real world beating serial plugin hybrid. Just a hunch.

Toyota seems to be resting on their laurels, concentrating more on wheeling and dealing in the foreign trade realm, than pushing the envelope of leading edge technology. Just like GM came to ignore engineers and concentrate on serving oil interests when it was number one in market share. When it killed the EV1.

Ignore your engineers at your own peril! A warning to auto companies and governments.


Firefly shows some real promise. I just went over their white papers and I must say... at 1/5 the cost of advanced Li-ion and NiMH, how can one not like em. I wish they had more definitive specs as far as operating temps and cycle life. These are 2 areas of concern when dealing with the electrification of automobiles.


Keep an eye on TIE bro. They aren't done yet, as far as company and revenue growth. They have outpaced their competitors in growth and revenues. They are also opening 2 new facilities to enhance their smelting operations. One facility opens in the 2ndQ of 2007 and is expected to increase production over 40% when fully operational by the end of the year. The other will open in 1stQ of 2008 and is expected to increase production over 50%. The reason I knew about the VHI dividend is because I've been following TIE as long as I've been following ALTI.

As far as ALTI having multiple revenue streams, that is in the works. They are a NanoTech company first and foremost with technologies ranging from... well I'm sure you know and if you don't visit their website. However I feel they are making a mistake focusing too much on the NanoSafe. Losing $23mil this year, they better have other streams of cash to help support their operations if the NanoSafe goes "bunk"! Hmmmm... maybe I need to sell my entire position and call them short =) Well maybe not now... but maybe when the ZEV credits expire in 2010!!!


I think one of the most delusional things that people think is that in the future we're ALL going to have personal transport at our disposal. Wrong! Transport will be much more "public" based. Communities may have vehicles but individuals, unless you're rich, won't. The future, at least inthe medium term, is likely to be with hybrids and EV's trickling into the market but transport for people will definitely move into a shared or public area with small, multi passenger buses and the like. Petroleum man has had his run. I think this same effect will permeate society. we'll have no choice but to be more and more conservative of resources. we will waste less, recycle more and the global economy will shrink dramatically as a result. In fifty years, the generation of young adults will have known nothing else. All of us Oil Age fogeys will be dribbling on about how we used to have our OWN car and go wherever we pleased whenever we wanted. The kids will say Wha?

kit p

There is no energy shortage and there never will be. There is also no problem providing energy within acceptable environmental impacts.

At times we have failed to plan well for our energy needs and then we debate what the best way of doing it. It would be revolutionary to actually accurately predict our needs and avoid needless shortages and excessive surpluses.

At the risk of sounding contradictory, when I say EVs are DOA; it is no because we can not build enough batteries and meet the additional electrical demand. There are just several better ways of doing it.

There are no resource limitations preventing every family in the world form enjoying an air conditioned 2000 square foot home and POV at 12k miles per year.


Would there be any weight issues associated with using this battery? Looks pretty bulky.

x-ray fluorescence

Interesting Titanium news Jimmi. Any new Titanium production technology startups coming along? I would think that would be a great area to follow for renewable energy boom trading.

sealed lead acid batteries

Very informative and well written. It'll be interesting to see the developments in the coming years!

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The simple language and concise page style really attract me. And your articles give out the pure soul of yours.

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This is great placement for the battery.. I wish that the civic would do the same so that you can put the back seat down for more storage.

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