There is no doubt, you’ve heard of lithium. It’s the not-so-secret ingredient in lithium-ion batteries – the batteries that will power our renewable, clean-energy future that has been mandated by the current administration.
Lithium batteries are the leading technology in electric vehicles (EVs), laptops, computers, mobile phones, pacemakers, hearing aids, drones, even remote-control toys, and so much more.
The U.S. military has been using lithium batteries in radios, thermal imagers and other portable devices for over a decade. Over the next five years, the Department of Defense expects to expand the use of lithium batteries into military vehicles, ships, aircraft and missiles.
With the demand for lithium batteries skyrocketing, the U.S. government has officially classified lithium as essential and critical to our economic and national security.
With the demand and pressures to move to electric vehicles and a clean energy footprint, a new energy race is underway between the U.S. and China. A race that echoes the past wars over oil. The U.S. and China are now fighting to procure new sources of lithium.
Lithium Americas, a mining company that owns the rights to Thacker Pass, expects to potentially extract 80,000 tons of lithium a year. That’s enough to power about a million vehicles.
The race for lithium is predominately being driven by the worldwide demand for electric vehicles. Lithium is ideal for electric car batteries. Its lightweight stores lots of energy and can be repeatedly recharged.
In 2030, the U.S. is expected to sell 5 million EVs. Today, China sells more EVs than anyone else, capturing 50% of the EV market. Companies like Ford are in a race to make that statistic change.
The Department of Energy has released a national blueprint for lithium batteries. It says relying on other countries creates a “strategic vulnerability” for the U.S. economy. Given the trade battle between the United States and China right now, this statement is not a surprise.
Allan Swan, the president of Panasonic Energy of North America, said, “We are right at the beginning of this journey, and therefore what’s ahead of us is so huge.”
Swan runs the largest lithium-ion battery factory in the world, just outside Reno, Nevada. It produces two billion batteries each year. All of them are for just one electric car maker: Tesla.
The U.S. has increased its production of renewable megawatt-hours (MWh) by 240% in a single year thanks to battery storage systems. Lithium batteries accounted for 99% of that increase.
Over the next 2 years, the U.S. is projected to become the largest global market for stationary battery storage. And by 2050, China and the U.S. are projected to be the top two markets.
For the U.S. to continue its goal of clean, renewable energy, it must find new domestic sources of lithium. Ameriwest Lithium (AWLIF) may soon become a new Goliath in lithium exploration and resource generation that the U.S. desperately needs to win the lithium war with China.