Friday, December 11, 2009
The Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia is the world's largest salt flat, the salts their contain large amounts of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and lithium. Lithium is a soft alkali metal and when put in its carbonate form it is a power source which can be used to power electric cars and plug in hybrids. Bolivia has nearly 35% of the world's lithium resources, and with the increase in the amount of the electric vehicles, this could lead to great things for South-America poorest country. As we have found out there is a coming of peak oil production and we will no longer be able to fuel our growing need for petroleum. We must find another source of energy and it could use Lithium powered batteries. There is enough lithium in the Salar de Uyuni for almost 4.8 billion electric cars. Another good thing is that lithium is recyclable, so we will be able to use then reuse over and over again.
Many believe that bolivia and other lithium producers could turn into a cartel like OPEC, by artificially inflating prices, blackmailing the rest of the world. But the thing is lithium is inexpensive and even if it did become expense new sources could be found via exploration. This is not the case with oil we have already found the vast majority of the sources. Also as we improve the technology of lithium recycling of it will also become better.
While there are many things that could go wrong with a dependence on lithium, we would be better off then our current situation with oil. It only takes a few pounds of lithium to make a battery that lasts for years, with oil you need to refuel with many gallons at least 2 times a week depending on the amount of driving you do. Lithium is another promising alternative and the sooner we cut or dependence from foreign oil the better off we will be as people, and a planet.