Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The Lithium Rush
From Technology Review:
In the Bolivian Andes lies a vast salt flat that may shape the future of transportation.
Nearly four kilometers above sea level in the Bolivian Andes lies the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat. But there is more to this surreal, moonlike landscape than meets the eye. Flowing in salt-water channels beneath the surface is the world's largest supply of lithium--and, possibly, the future of transportation. Lithium is the key ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries that will power the electric vehicles that will soon be rolling off production lines worldwide. Demand for the metal is expected to double in the next 10 years, and Bolivia, with an untapped resource estimated at nine million tons by the U.S. Geological Survey, is being called a potential "Saudi Arabia of lithium."
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