The curse of 'white oil': electric vehicles' dirty secret

TruckElectric

Well-known member
First Name
Bryan
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
2,344
Location
Texas
Vehicles
Dodge Ram diesel
Occupation
Retired
Country flag
The race is on to find a steady source of lithium, a key component in rechargeable electric car batteries. But while the EU focuses on emissions, the lithium gold rush threatens environmental damage on an industrial scale

by Oliver Balch


Even before the new mine became the main topic of village conversation, João Cassote, a 44-year-old livestock farmer, was thinking about making a change. Living off the land in his mountainous part of northern Portugal was a grind. Of his close childhood friends, he was the only one who hadn’t gone overseas in search of work. So, in 2017, when he heard of a British company prospecting for lithium in the region of Trás-os-Montes, Cassote called his bank and asked for a €200,000 loan. He bought a John Deere tractor, an earthmover and a portable water-storage tank.


The exploration team of the UK-based mining company Savannah Resources had spent months poring over geological maps and surveys of the hills that ripple out from Cassote’s farm. Initial calculations indicated that they could contain more than 280,000 tonnes of lithium, a silver-white alkali metal – enough for 10 years’ production. Cassote got in touch with Savannah’s local office, and the mining firm duly contracted him to supply water to their test drilling site. The return on his investment was swift. After less than 12 months on the company’s books, Cassote had made what he would usually earn in five or six years on the farm.

Savannah is just one of several mining companies with an eye on the rich lithium deposits of central and northern Portugal. The sudden excitement surrounding petróleo branco (“white oil”) derives from an invention rarely seen in these parts: the electric car. Lithium is a key active material in the rechargeable batteries that run electric cars. It is found in rock and clay deposits as a solid mineral, as well as dissolved in brine. It is popular with battery manufacturers because, as the least dense metal, it stores a lot of energy for its weight.

Electrifying transport has become a top priority in the move to a lower-carbon future. In Europe, car travel accounts for around 12% of all the continent’s carbon emissions. To keep in line with the Paris agreement, emissions from cars and vans will need to drop by more than a third (37.5%)by 2030. The EU has set an ambitious goal of reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by the same date. To that end, Brussels and individual member states are pouring millions of euros into incentivising car owners to switch to electric. Some countries are going even further, proposing to ban sales of diesel and petrol vehicles in the near future (as early as 2025 in the case of Norway). If all goes to plan, European electric vehicle ownership could jump from around 2m today to 40m by 2030.

Lithium is key to this energy transition. Lithium-ion batteries are used to power electric cars, as well as to store grid-scale electricity. (They are also used in smartphones and laptops.) But Europe has a problem. At present, almost every ounce of battery-grade lithium is imported. More than half (55%) of global lithium production last year originated in just one country: Australia. Other principal suppliers, such as Chile (23%), China (10%) and Argentina (8%), are equally far-flung.

Lithium deposits have been discovered in Austria, Serbia and Finland, but it is in Portugal that Europe’s largest lithium hopes lie. The Portuguese government is preparing to offer licences for lithium mining to international companies in a bid to exploit its “white oil” reserves. Sourcing lithium in its own back yard not only offers Europe simpler logistics and lower prices, but fewer transport-related emissions. It also promises Europe security of supply – an issue given greater urgency by the coronavirus pandemic’s disruption of global trade.

Even before the pandemic, alarm was mounting about sourcing lithium. Dr Thea Riofrancos, a political economist at Providence College in Rhode Island, pointed to growing trade protectionism and the recent US-China trade spat. (And that was before the trade row between China and Australia.) Whatever worries EU policymakers might have had before the pandemic, she said, “now they must be a million times higher”.

The urgency in getting a lithium supply has unleashed a mining boom, and the race for “white oil” threatens to cause damage to the natural environment wherever it is found. But because they are helping to drive down emissions, the mining companies have EU environmental policy on their side.

“There’s a fundamental question behind all this about the model of consumption and production that we now have, which is simply not sustainable,” said Riofrancos. “Everyone having an electric vehicle means an enormous amount of mining, refining and all the polluting activities that come with it.”

In the tiny hamlet of Muro in Trás-os-Montes, Cassote has concerns of his own. The prospecting phase ended earlier this year, and his expensive new machinery is standing idle in his farmyard. Savannah is waiting for the final green light from the Portuguese government for its lithium mine. If approved, the company is promising to invest $109m in the project. It will also create a quarry like an open wound in the mountainside. Cassote doesn’t mind. He just wants to be back on his earthmover.

Not everyone shares Cassote’s enthusiasm for lithium mining. After three decades living in Amsterdam, Mario Inacio, a 50-year-old professional dancer, recently returned to his home in Portugal with plans to build a yoga retreat deep in the countryside – somewhere bucolic and isolated where guests could wake to the sound of birdsong.

Inacio and his partner, Milko Prinsze, had identified the perfect spot, an abandoned farmstead set in 47 acres of grassy wilderness in central Portugal. The main house would require considerable renovation, but the rest was exactly as they had imagined. Driving down the sinuous, bumpy driveway for the first time, Inacio dreamed of the changes they could make – extending the house off to the side, converting the outhouses into private living quarters, carving out a natural pool in the rocks. He pinpointed the spot for the yoga studio: a small rise with expansive views over the grounds and out to the hills beyond.

Six years after the couple first set eyes on the place, Quinta Da Lua Nova is now ready to open its doors to paying guests. The global pandemic is creating a shortage of international clients and making it difficult to fill the nine rooms, but a much greater worry hangs over the business in which Inacio has invested his life savings. Moving to one of the large ground-floor windows of his new home, he pointed to the lush expanse of open country outside. “Any of this could be exploited for lithium soon. Possible exploration orders hang over all of it.”

In the past few years, small groups of anxious residents have come together across Portugal, concerned about the government’s lithium plans. With few facts in the public domain, these groups started making inquiries to local planning departments and town halls. In Inacio’s case, he said that he was told his requests would be “passed on”. He never heard any more.

At the same time, early-stage exploration works, led by the likes of Savannah and the Portugal-based Lusorecursos, were reportedly sighted across the country. An objector unearthed a technical assessment of Portugal’s lithium resources commissioned by the energy ministry in 2016. Eventually, a government spokesperson confirmed that discussions were under way with various mining companies, but said no firm decisions had yet been made.

4032.jpg

João Cassote near the site of a proposed lithium mine in northern Portugal. Photograph: Nik Völker

Then, in January 2020, a map began circulating among the various WhatsApp and Facebook groups set up by concerned residents like Inacio. The map, put together by a local software developer specialising in cartography, appeared to confirm their worst fears. A tapestry of geometric shapes spread across the country’s interior, abutting designated nature reserves. A series of local and national protests, including a march in Lisbon last year, sought to raise awareness about the impacts of modern mining on the natural environment, including potential industrial-scale habitat destruction, chemical contamination and noise pollution, as well as high levels of water consumption. They also raised concerns about the impact on tourism – an economic mainstay for the country’s interior, with an annual turnover of €18.4bn in 2019.

All these concerns appear in a “national manifesto” recently published by a coalition of civic movements. Despite vociferous local media coverage, they have made little impact so far. In part, this reflects the relative weakness of the national environmental movement. Portugal is one of the few countries in Europe not to have a Greenpeace affiliate, for instance, and according to an EU survey, of all European consumers, the Portuguese are the least likely to pay more for eco-branded products.

For Maria Carmo, a 43-year-old university lecturer from the village of Barco, in the central district of Castelo Branco, such lack of engagement reveals the alienation that most urban or coastal-dwelling Portuguese feel towards the country’s rural heartlands. The trend in the past 50 years or so has been one of continued rural depopulation. Hundreds of thousands of people have left Portugal’s poor and already under-populated interior for new lives abroad or in the country’s coastal cities. Few of them return.

If a mining licence is granted in their region, Inacio and a small core of diehard supporters are prepared to fight it in the courts. Carmo is less sure. Her campaign group in Castelo Branco has already split, with half its members now open to the possibility of an open-pit lithium mine above her village. It will happen anyway, they say, so why not negotiate some guarantees? Barco used to have a tin mine, the villagers argue, and it wasn’t so bad.

But Carmo feels it’s a mistake to compare the two operations. Her own father and grandfather both worked in the Argemela tin mine outside the village before it closed in the early 1960s. Back then, mining was small-scale and subterranean. A new mine, in contrast, could see half the hill disappear, potentially damaging the remains of a bronze-age settlement on its peak. Villagers also fear that chemical runoff will pollute the nearby Zêzere river, which they depend on for their crops.

After a three-year struggle, Carmo is exhausted and ready to give in. She feels the government is deaf, and that her fellow citizens aren’t interested. “So much destruction,” she said. “And for what? So eco-minded urbanites in Paris and Berlin can feel good about driving around in zero-emission cars.”


Advocates of Portugal’s hoped-for lithium boom argue that local disruption is a small price to pay for tackling the climate crisis. They point out that innovations such as windfarms, solar energy parks and hydroelectric plants, while contributing to lowering CO2 emissions in the long term, all have some impact on local populations. In a note to investors, Savannah observes that its proposed mine (which boasts projected revenues of US$1.55bn over its initial 11-year lifespan) will contribute to enough battery packs to prevent the emission of 100m tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Savannah’s chief executive, David Archer, goes even further. Speaking from his London office, he pitched his firm’s multimillion-dollar investment as advancing the overall “quality of the global commons”. The equation he offers is simple: lithium equals batteries, which equals electric cars, which equals an end to transport emissions, which equals a world less vulnerable to today’s climate emergency. He adds the prospect of new jobs in the local area (up to 800 in Trás-os-Montes), higher tax revenues and a €437m boost to Portugal’s economy. From a development perspective, he said, it’s a “no-brainer”.

The Portuguese government concurs. In a promotional video targeted at foreign investors, the secretary of state for the environment named his country “one of the world’s leaders in energy transition”. The short film stresses the current government’s “strong commitment” to a policy of eco-innovation.

Objectors say that where there is profit to be made, local environmental impacts are almost always overlooked. The same dilemma has set back international climate talks for decades, said Harjeet Singh, global climate lead for the campaign group ActionAid. The global north wants stricter emissions targets; the global south wants economic development now, and reasonably feels that the burden of tackling the climate crisis should fall on the post-industrial societies primarily responsible for causing it. “Green technologies are essential for the transition to renewable energy,” Singh said, “but they are not without negative impacts [and] we need to ensure these don’t always fall on the poorest and most marginalised communities.”

In Chile, the battle over the impact of mining has been going on for years. Born and brought up in the copper-producing region of O’Higgins in central Chile, community activist Ramón Balcázar, now 36, became aware of the potential damage of large-scale mining at an early age. Long-running disputes – over land use, water rights and chemical contamination – provided the background to his youth in the 90s. Then, six years ago, he moved to the northern outpost of San Pedro de Atacama. On the lip of the country’s famed Andean salt flats, the town looks out to a coarse, sun-baked carpet of crystalline whites and smudgy grey. There, under this huge, cloudless desert sky, Balcázar finally felt able to breathe freely.


He did not know it, but he had walked into another battle zone. San Pedro lies on the westernmost point of a mining area that spreads north across the Atacama desert to Bolivia and west into Argentina. Fifty times drier than California’s Death valley, the area’s parched surface conceals an underworld rich in minerals. Historically, mining companies have exploited its lucrative deposits of copper and, to a lesser extent, iodine and nitrates. By some estimates, it also contains as much as half the world’s lithium reserves. In the early to mid-2010s, when talk of lithium-ion batteries began circulating in every mining town, a raft of new licences were requested, investments made, and extraction facilities expanded. The area became known as the “lithium triangle”.

The mining companies insist their operations are sustainable. Balcázar, speaking from Mexico City, where he is studying for a graduate research degree, said they have no evidence for this claim. No one knows what effects lithium extraction on such a large scale will have on the Atacama’s fragile natural ecosystem. Unlike in Portugal, lithium here is found in brine, so the mining operations use no dynamite and no earthmovers, and threaten to leave no unsightly craters. Instead, they consist of a series of large, neatly segregated evaporation pools filled with millions of litres of brine that have been pumped from below the surface and left to evaporate in the sun.
The fears of residents like Balcázar are focused on the area’s cavernous, subterranean aquifers, from where the brine is pumped. Here, they maintain, a disaster is unfolding. There is a risk that the reserves of clean water, which are found in a separate layer above the brine deposits, may become contaminated.

Balcázar has been working with the Plurinational Observatory of Andean Salt Flats, a network of expert scientists and concerned citizens, to chart changes to the local ecology. The weight of their evidence – shrinking pasturelands, failing crops, disappearing flora and fauna – all point towards a process of desertification which they believe is exacerbated by lithium extraction. The impact of disturbing a “huge, complex hydrological system” is not visible from one day to the next, said Balcázar. “But the two are interlinked, without any doubt.”
Plans by lithium mining firm SQM to expand its operations were recently blocked by a Chilean court on environmental grounds, but almost every other effort to get the backing of the authorities has failed. In Chile, Balcázar said, certain territories and natural environments have always been “sacrificeable” in the name of progress.
While mining firms scour the world’s deserts and countryside for lithium concentrate, a parallel search is on to find ways of producing battery-grade lithium without sending in the diggers. On an industrial estate surrounded by fields in rural Saxony, Christian Hanisch set out to discover a solution in recycling. “What if, instead of extracting virgin lithium from the ground, we use what we already have?” he said. Half a million tonnes of lithium has been extracted and refined in the past decade, much of which now sits in discarded mobile phones and laptops approaching obsolescence.
Advertisement

In his modest first-floor office at Duesenfeld, the company he co-founded while working on his PhD at Braunschweig University of Technology, Hanisch, 37, admitted that the logistics are challenging. The lithium-ion batteries in everyday devices are typically small and fiddly, so to make his venture viable, Hanisch decided to start big, with used electric car batteries (which each contain about 8kg of reusable lithium). He pointed out of the window, where several recently delivered samples were piled up on the tarmac outside the factory next door, each the size of a chunky mattress.

Removing the battery’s heavy plastic casing is easy enough; the challenge is how to access the lithium inside the battery cell itself. Currently, two main options exist: either heat the components to about 300C to evaporate the lithium, or apply acids and other reducing agents to leach it. Both approaches are complicated by lithium’s extreme volatility (it is prone to exploding) and its amalgamation with other metals (which are added in for better conductivity).

With market analysts predicting a potential 12-fold increase in the value of the global lithium recycling industry over next decade, to more than $18bn by 2030, competition among recycling innovators is hotting up. In Germany alone, Duesenfeld faces competition from at least three other early-stage lithium recyclers. Across the border in Belgium, a former smelting firm turned urban waste recycler, Umicore, is developing its own technology, but releasing no details. Another significant European player is Snam, in France.

Hanisch is confident that his procedure has an edge. Rather than smelting (which is highly energy intensive) or leaching (extremely toxic), Duesenfeld’s approach is based on mechanical separation. This method involves physically breaking the battery down into its component parts and then extracting the residual lithium via a combination of magnetisation and distillation.

In the company’s factory, amid a cacophony of whirring and clanking, a submarine-like cylindrical contraption (“that’s the crusher”, shouted Hanisch through the ear protectors clamped to my head) occupies the back wall. Filling the space between is a jungle of pipes, funnels and conveyor belts punctuated by worktops. Quite where the production line begins or ends is unclear. Hanisch regarded his invention with a blissful expression. “It’s noisy,” he conceded, “But it’s the greenest way of recycling lithium there is.”

Hanisch was brought up in a farming family in rural Lower Saxony, a background that inspired his environmental ambitions. Earlier this year he launched a consultancy venture, No Canary, advising on low-carbon methods for producing not just a battery, but an entire electric vehicle, from the materials stage through to final disposal. “Greta [Thunberg] was right”, he told listeners to his inaugural webinar. “We aren’t moving nearly fast enough on decarbonisation.”

Shifting away from petrol and diesel is not the only concern. Manufacturing any car, electric or otherwise, causes carbon emissions, be it from the coal used to smelt the steel for its body work or the diesel oil burned when shipping its electronic components across oceans. The extra materials and energy involved in manufacturing a lithium-ion battery mean that, at present, the carbon emissions associated with producing an electric car are higher than those for a vehicle running on petrol or diesel – by as much as 38%, according to some calculations. Until the electricity in national grids is entirely renewable, recharging the battery will involve a degree of dependence on coal or gas-fired power stations.

Lithium accounts for a small part of the battery’s cost, which means there is less incentive for manufacturers to find an alternative. As it is, recycling lithium costs more than digging it out of the ground. For Hanisch, one of the chief costs comes at the end of the process: converting the recovered lithium from its recycled state (lithium sulphate) into a battery-ready form (lithium carbonate). Without the resources to build his own chemical plant, Duesenfeld sends his end product – a grainy composite of precious metals known as “black mass” – to a hydrometallurgical facility for final processing.

For existing recycling plants, lithium is not where the money lies, said Linda Gaines, an expert in battery recycling systems at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. As she said: “The main purpose is to recover the cobalt, as well as nickel and copper. The lithium doesn’t add much.”

As with wind turbines and solar panels, the price of recycled lithium will very likely come down as battery manufacturers scale up. Supposing this proves true, there’s a huge supply-demand imbalance to get over. Before the pandemic, total sales of electric vehicles were projected to more than quadruple in the next five years, to more than 11m units. Demand for lithium will rise accordingly, with one industry estimate suggesting annual consumption could easily reach 700,000 tonnes by the middle of this decade. So, even if Duesenfeld and its competitors were able to recycle every last ounce of lithium produced in the last decade, come 2025, it would only be enough to power new electric vehicle batteries for nine months.


As it turns out, the recession caused by the pandemic may have granted campaigners a reprieve, halting the immediate need to open new lithium mines. With the world facing a prolonged crisis, new cars – even eco-friendly ones – are not at the top of most people’s priorities. As manufacture has slowed down, a glut of lithium on global markets has dampened the white oil boom, if only temporarily.

But investors remain bullish about lithium’s long-term prospects. With a change of regime in the White House, there is hope for renewed support for measures to tackle the climate crisis. In the fortnight after the US election, the stock price of Chile-based lithium mine company Albermarle rose by more than 20%. In the UK, Boris Johnson’s announcement about bringing forward a ban on new diesel and petrol cars to 2030 gave the market a boost.

The European commission still wants a lithium industry to call its own. In September, the Slovak diplomat and a commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič publicly endorsed Portugal’s plans as “necessary” for the automotive sector. What’s more, the European Investment Bank would be on hand to help, he promised. His comment chimed with the launch of a new EU strategy on raw materials, which, among other goals, seeks to increase Europe’s lithium supply 18-fold by 2030, while reducing Europe’s dependence on third-party countries.
This is discouraging for the opponents of lithium mines in Portugal, but Šefčovič offered them a crumb of comfort. The decision to mine has to be taken in dialogue “with local communities”, he asserted, adding that “we need to assure these communities that these projects are not only of the greatest importance, but will also benefit the region and the country”.

The modern corporate responsibility movement is built on such logic. First, it does not promise to eliminate all negative industrial impacts. Instead, it pledges to “manage” them, and then to balance out any damage with compensatory “benefits”, to use Šefčovič’s phrase. In the case of Savannah’s mine in northern Portugal, the company concedes there will be local environmental impact, but argues that it will be outweighed by the upsides (inward investment, jobs, community projects).

Godofredo Pereira, a Portuguese environmental architect based at the Royal College of Art in London, is sceptical. His first-hand observations of the exploitation of Chile’s salt flats suggest that offers of dialogue can be superficial. Even in Atacama, where international accords give indigenous groups the right to “free, prior, informed consent”, detractors such as Balcázar struggle to be heard. Instead, the view of pro-mining community groups is taken as universal. If necessary, the obligation to gain consent can be weakened simply by defining lithium as a mineral of “strategic” or “critical” national value – which is easy enough, given lithium’s contribution to slowing global heating and cleaner air.

Nor, very often, do the promised trade-offs turn out to be quite what they initially seem, according to Pereira. The voluntary nature of corporate responsibility means mining firms can backtrack if it suits them. Even when local groups succeed in negotiating a fixed royalty (3.5% of sales, in the case of one major extractor in Atacama), communities frequently split in the subsequent fight for the spoils.

Digging up Portugal’s mountains in the name of green technology may still be avoidable. An alternative, less controversial technology could break on to the scene. Green hydrogen, for instance, could help offset up to 10% of Europe’s emissions. A more immediate solution would be to rethink how we get around. As Thea Riofrancos at Providence College pointed out, if everyone were to adopt “rational forms of transport” – such as trains, trams, e-buses, cycling and car-sharing – then demand for passenger vehicles of all kinds would shrink overnight.

For Portugal’s anti-mining groups, however, the clock is ticking. Godofredo argued that citizens must demand a dialogue, in order to “get a conversation going about what model of development we want”. If people were better informed, he reasoned, it’s just possible that public opinion could swing to their side, and the country’s lithium mining plans could get shelved. In this regard, recent demands by Portugal’s Green party for a national impact evaluation of mining policy is promising.

Portugal’s protesters can see that blocking green growth won’t get them far. These interior regions need investment. Hence the banner hanging from the playground fence in João Cassote’s neighbouring village, which reads “Sim à Vida” (Yes to life) beside “Não à Mina” (No to the Mine). “Life” for opponents of the mine, including Mario Inacio and Maria Carmo, is eco-tourism, regenerative farming, local supply chains, and other tenets of low-carbon living. For Cassote, it means a decent wage for a decent day’s work. For a green future, it’s going to be vital to accommodate both visions.

SOURCE: The Guardian
Advertisement

 

Crissa

Well-known member
First Name
Crissa
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
5,870
Reaction score
7,704
Location
Santa Cruz
Vehicles
2014 Zero S, 2013 Mazda 3
Country flag
This article is straight-up fear mongering and some of its numbers are wrong.

The fact is, a car uses its pile of lithium for its entire lifetime while an ICE car goes through that weight in gasoline -itself a massive result of desulfurization and distilling - two to four times a year during its lifetime.

The article worried about annually mining 700,000 tons of lithium... whereas the world uses twice that in oil every day.

The impact of mining lithium is not even in the same scale.

-Crissa
 
Last edited:

VI Tesla

Well-known member
First Name
David
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Messages
206
Reaction score
356
Location
Nanaimo
Vehicles
Model 3, Cybertruck
Country flag
This article is straight-up fear mongering and some of its numbers are wrong.

The fact is, a car uses it's pile of lithium for its entire lifetime while an ICE car goes through that weight in gasoline -itself a massive result of desulfurization and distilling - two to four times a year during its lifetime.

The article worried about annually mining 700,000 tons of lithium... whereas the world uses twice that in oil every day.

The impact of mining lithium is not even in the same scale.

-Crissa
Plus up to 95% of the lithium can be recycled from expended batteries. Good luck recycling burnt hydrocarbons.
 

TheLastStarfighter

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
346
Reaction score
837
Location
Canada
Vehicles
Dodge Challenger
Occupation
Engineer
Country flag
Guardian Editor: Alright Oliver, this article's gonna get some clicks. But we need an expert quote. Get me an Engineer, a scientist, economist... someone who thinks electric cars are worse for the environment than petroleum vehicles.

Oliver: I can't find any sir. Not one.

Editor: None at all? Could you find anyone that thinks EV's are a bad idea?

Oliver: Well, there was this one dancer who was opening a yoga studio...

Editor: F*%k Ollie, we're on a deadline. Let's do this!
 

Delusional

Well-known member
First Name
Phil
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
127
Reaction score
202
Location
Pittsburgh
Vehicles
F-150
Occupation
Construction
Country flag
Mining the earth for any mineral is an ugly business. This is not news.

The crust of the earth's scientific name is "Lith-osphere". Lithium is found all over the world, It's everywhere. Less than 10 percent of available land has even been prospected for deposits, only the easiest to access deposits are being mined now.
Lithium-ion won't be around for very long. Right now tens of thousands of people around the world are working on new battery chemistries, it's probably the most researched subject in the world. Sooner or later, somebody will come up with something better and lithium-ion will quickly go the way of the Video Cassette Recorder.
My bet for the next generation of batteries is sodium-ion, with lithium-air second. Sodium isn't mined, it's harvested.

Solar and wind are the cheapest ways to create energy of any type, right now. The green power revolution will occur for the reason of green dollar bills, and the green-environment concerns are only a happy bonus. It's going to happen a lot quicker than anybody thinks. If the dollars are in green energy, (which they are) every body will flood the zone and it's game over for anybody whose energy is more expensive. I say this with one hundred percent certainty.

The thing to be scared of is the known and unknown effects of global warming. Rising seas will displace a billion people, and that's just for starters. And don't tell me "in theory". This is happening right now. The question is how quickly the climate change feedback loop accelerates.

Oh, and at the same time, about four dozen countries around the world are being kept afloat by oil revenues. You'll see some serious geopolitical instability as over a few decades, that source of funds dries up.

FUN!
 

SolarWizard

Member
First Name
Memphis
Joined
Nov 18, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
18
Location
CA & FL
Vehicles
Truck
Country flag
while I believe in the merits of electric cars snd will undoubtedly own and keep one eventually, they should rise out of competition not via bans or subsidies.

i have a Honda razor turbo R that is a fantastic off road vehicle that I’m hoping to see an electric version of as its replacement, especially for the advantage of not needing clean air. That being said in no way would it be wise IMO to replace it before such time that it’s too worn out to fix or gets destroyed off road. it’ll also be a very long time IMO before the ability to charge it in the middle of nowhere exists without hauling generators which really defeats the point
 

FutureBoy

Well-known member
First Name
Reginald
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
1,355
Reaction score
1,979
Location
Kirkland WA USA
Vehicles
Toyota Sienna
Occupation
Private Lending Educator
Country flag
while I believe in the merits of electric cars snd will undoubtedly own and keep one eventually, they should rise out of competition not via bans or subsidies.
How do you propose that we deal with the current ICE stack subsidies? There are huge tax incentives or direct subsidies going to oil companies. There are crazy polluting externalities of CO2 emissions that are not being addressed. Between these 2 items, ICE is getting quite the sweet deal.

I am also not wanting to have explicit bans or subsidies. But that includes subsidies to the ICE technology stack.
 

firsttruck

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
768
Reaction score
941
Location
mx
Vehicles
none
Country flag
All the subsidies to oil industry including

military expenditures including direct wars.

Iran vs Iraq (supported by U.S. military aid when U.S. consider Saddam as the good guy).
Iraq vs U.S. #1
Iraq vs U.S. #2
Yemen
Lebanon - U.S. Marines killed by huge bomb
Sept 11 would not have happened * see U.S. withdrawal from Saudi Arabia
Afghanistan vs U.S.
War on Terror

If it was not for the oil who would care about the Middle-East.
Oil is the only product that comes from that region that is important.

many trillions of dollars in military expenditures


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_United_States–Middle_East_economic_relations

Iran
The National Security Council of the United States urged the United Kingdom to resolve the oil dispute before decisive actions were taken by the Iranians. Eventually, this conflict over oil revenues led to the full nationalization of oil by Prime Minister Mosaddeq in 1951. *** This resulted in the Iranian coupe of 1953 in which the American CIA and British MI6 performed a joint operation overthrowing the democratically elected Mosaddeq in what is known as Operation Ajax. ***

Saudi Arabia
Thus, the interests of the United States were intertwined with the interests of the Saudi Arabian monarchy. Saudi Arabia needed the technology and expertise of the Americans and the Americans needed oil in order to maintain their state of power in the world as well as compete with the USSR during the Cold War. ARAMCO, unlike its British predecessor, offered the Saudi Arabians 50% of profits from oil, keeping both parties satisfied. Building off of this mutually beneficial economic relationship, a political and military association began to form. This is reflected with the building of an American airbase in Dhahran in eastern Saudi Arabia and by the continuing alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabian king needed U.S. military to keep from being overthrown


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_withdrawal_from_Saudi_Arabia

Since Saudi Arabia houses the holiest sites in Islam (Mecca and Medina), a number of Muslims, including Bin Laden and his supporters, were outraged at the permanent presence of non-Muslim U.S., British and French military personnel. The continued presence of U.S. troops after the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia was also one of the stated motivations behind the September 11th terrorist attacks and the Khobar Towers bombing. The date of the 1998 United States embassy bombings was eight years to the day (August 7) that American troops were sent to Saudi Arabia.

Opinion polls conducted by Gallup from 2006–2008, found that many in Muslim majority countries strongly objected to U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia. 52% of Saudis agreed that removing military bases from Saudi Arabia would very significantly improve their opinion of the United States. Also, 60% of Egyptians, 39% of Jordanians, 40% of Syrians and Palestinians, 55% of Tunisians, 13% of Iranians, 29% of Turks, 40% of Lebanese, and 30% of Algerians gave that opinion, too.

The U.S. had rejected the characterization of its presence as an "occupation", noting that the government of Saudi Arabia consented to the presence of troops.
** U.S. thinking - the king/dictator said we could do it so the citizens of the country that don't like it can just piss off. We totally believe in democracy **
 

Luke42

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
650
Reaction score
1,137
Location
Illinois, USA
Vehicles
GMC Sierra Hybrid (2-Mode)
Country flag
That being said in no way would it be wise IMO to replace it before such time that it’s too worn out to fix or gets destroyed off road.
That's only true if you scrap it.

If you sell it on the used market, someone else will keep driving it until it's used up.

The same is true for used cars, too.
 

firsttruck

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
768
Reaction score
941
Location
mx
Vehicles
none
Country flag
Energy subsidy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidy

...
The International Energy Agency estimates that governments subsidized fossil fuels by US $548 billion in 2013. Those subsidies were over four-times the value of subsidies to renewable energy and more than four times the amount invested globally in improving energy efficiency. ** The trillions dollars of military expenditure subsidies to protect oil & gas industry not included. **
https://web.archive.org/web/2015042...denergyoutlook.org/resources/energysubsidies/


** As example even tiny population countries spend huge amounts relative to their population - The public energy subsidies for energy in Finland ( 5.4 million pop.) in 2013 were €700 million for fossil energy and €60 million for renewable energy (mainly wood and wind).
 

FutureBoy

Well-known member
First Name
Reginald
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
1,355
Reaction score
1,979
Location
Kirkland WA USA
Vehicles
Toyota Sienna
Occupation
Private Lending Educator
Country flag
That being said in no way would it be wise IMO to replace it before such time that it’s too worn out to fix or gets destroyed off road.
That's only true if you scrap it.

If you sell it on the used market, someone else will keep driving it until it's used up.

The same is true for used cars, too.
Yes, I agree that the used market is a good way to recycle. EVs will make better recycle options than ICE vehicles overall.

For years, I could only afford very cheap used cars. The problem was in finding ones that could actually be trustworthy. For a while, I was having trouble where I would buy $5000 cars, drive them for a little while (less than 1 year) and then have some huge repair (a blown engine for example). So after a few of those, I dropped my buying standards and started buying $300 junkers that could actually still run. Generally, I found that I could drive a $300 junker for 6 months or more with no repairs short of the occasional oil change. Then when something catastrophic would happen to those vehicles, I would call a junkyard and sell it to them (usually got $50 in scrap metal). Plus I would call a friend to drive me to the "bad" part of town so I could go buy my next one. I got really lucky with a couple of those vehicles. Once was an old Subaru station wagon with 4 wheel drive. I think I drove that one for nearly 2 years. Then when the transmission started getting really loud and difficult to even switch gears I was ready to junk it. But one of my co-workers heard about it and wanted to buy it for his girlfriend. He bought it from me for $50 and then proceeded to ask me for ALL the faults I knew about the car. He said it was for "his protection". Seemed strange to me because the more faults I listed for him the more protection I would have from him being able to come back and tell me that I tricked him into buying a lemon. And I really felt sorry for the girlfriend. This car was on its last leg and he seemed to think that she could drive it out into the backwoods to go rock climbing. I hope she never got stuck out somewhere in the wilds and eaten by a mountain lion.

Long story short, back then I really wished that those who could afford to take care of their cars from the time they were new would be nice enough to give those of us with fewer resources a chance to love those vehicles through a second take on life.

On another tangent, I even met at one point a doctor's wife who wanted to get a new car. Her husband was a heart surgeon who would buy cars brand new and then drive them till they were dead. She had a number of young people who were friends with her kids who were looking for good cars that were cheap. I told her she could provide a valuable service by selling her cars to those she knew needed them. And he could make her happy with a new vehicle baby to love. I don't know if that ever panned out for her though.

OK, that was one disorganized spew. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I agree with Luke42 that recycling through resale is a viable and good option. And with EVs that option will get even better. And thinking about how reliable EVs will be that the recycle will probably be happening quite often when the owner has been recycled to the sky.
 

firsttruck

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
768
Reaction score
941
Location
mx
Vehicles
none
Country flag
Elon Musk & the engineers at Tesla estimate that all new cars/trucks sold in 2030 could be full electric. By 2050 the entire population of cars/trucks would be full electric.

Using technology existing today, if started now by 2040, it is theoretically & economically feasible to power the entire U.S. using only renewables (hydro, geo, wind, solar).
 

Ehninger1212

Well-known member
First Name
Jake
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
894
Reaction score
1,640
Location
Houston, TX
Vehicles
Audi A3 E-Tron - 2005 Land Rover LR3 - T-Bucket - 1951 chevy 3100
Occupation
Architect/Fabricator
Country flag
This is the kind of articles people like to read to feel comfortable about buying a new gas guzzling vehicle. They end up also believing they are saving the environment... While reading the article on their new phone, laptop, tablet ect.. with Lithium ion batteries.. which they throw away for a new one every 6 months..

People often bring these sort of articles up to me now when they see I drive a hybrid, I am glad to inform them of the REALITY.
 

ajdelange

Well-known member
First Name
A. J.
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
2,941
Reaction score
3,137
Location
Virginia/Quebec
Vehicles
Tesla X LR+, Lexus SUV, Toyota SR5, Toyota Landcruiser
Occupation
EE (Retired)
Country flag
The crust of the earth's scientific name is "Lith-osphere".
λίθος means "stone" thus lithium is named because it is found in the crust. The lithosphere is called the lithosphere because it is made of rock. Not because some of those rocks contain lithium.
 
Advertisement

 
Advertisement
Top