Lithium – an important raw material

Modern battery systems use lithium as the base material for the battery cathodes. Lithium is a light metal, which is not present as an element in nature.
Lithium carbonate is usually used in battery systems.

Against a backdrop of expanding electric mobility, the availability of lithium is increasingly being discussed amongst specialists. This is attributed among other things to a report “The Trouble with Lithium” by William Tahil from the French organisation Meridian International Research. Other scientists view the situation more positively. In 2008, R. Keith Evan published an article entitled “An Abundance of Lithium” and the study “Rohstoffe für Zukunftstechnologien" [Raw materials for future technologies] (2009) by the Fraunhofer Institute also does not foresee any restrictive bottlenecks. Furthermore, lithium is not consumed in the vehicles so recycling is possible. Different recycling procedures are currently being developed and tested Lithium deposits – like deposits of other raw materials such as rare earth elements – are not distributed equally throughout the world, regardless of their quantitative availability, but are concentrated in certain places.

So lithium occurs mainly in the shared border area of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, as well as in China.

The aspects of this topic are investigated more thoroughly by the supporting research project OPTUM.

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