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

ajdelange

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Crissa

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There's ...
Are you trying to argue that despite the two words share a root, that lithium isn't common in the lithosphere?

It doesn't seem like a productive argument to have, to take something poetic and try to argue against it when in fact, it has a kernel of truth.

-Crissa
 

FutureBoy

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Timoj

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They're doing that too (see e-fuel) and, of course, nature does it.
At what cost.... you’ll notice all of those projects are perpetually funded by fossil fuel interests to provide doubt and an excuse to stall the transition to renewables generally.
 

DallasEd

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White Oil Unlimited
Afghanistan the Saudi Arabia of lithium with $13 Trillion in just Li and rare earth reserves. Forget Bolivia ($0.357 Trillion) and all the rest combined Afghanistan has 3600% more Li. Tesla China should make a deal with Afghanistan thru its China headquarters. To sweeten the pot Tesla should offer to build a $1 Billion factory in Afghanistan. Tesla factory is big $$$ ok but there is over $13 Trillion in just lithium and rare earth reserves. Rare earth for motors tin gold and lithium this country is un tapped Miracle and next door to China.
Tesla China Afghanistan make that deal today and Tesla can lock in EV sedan and Semi production for the next 100 years.. Land locked yes just like Bolivia so its NBD.
Afghanistan white oil and rare earth Miracle nation.
 
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happy intruder

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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).
wonder what the grid will look like
 

ldjessee

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wonder what the grid will look like
Hopefully the rate of roof-top solar adoption increases, as well as wind and grid scale solar, it should be fine...

But I really wish we would start a program on putting all utilities in the ground, were power would not be knocked out by wind or a drunk driver (last time I lost power was because a car crashed into a pole and severed it).
 

ajdelange

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Hopefully the rate of roof-top solar adoption increases, as well as wind and grid scale solar, it should be fine...
It is certainly going to be interesting to watch the evolution but don't expect things to happen to fast. Here's the situation with home rooftop solar:

Solar_.png


What happens is the sun comes up in the morning and starts to produce electricity. By noon (apparent noon that is i.e. 13:00 daylight time) the house warms up and the A/Cs cut in. The sun then starts to go down but everything outside stays warm and so the A/C's continue to run into the evening - in fact until it cools off well into the evening. Thus the peak load occurs after the time of peak solar production. In the winter if one heats with electricity it is just the opposite. The heavy electric load arises before the sun can produce much. So the solar production needs to be "stored". A little math makes it clear that I can't afford the batteries (nor do I have a place to put them) necessary to shift the solar so I have to use the utility as a 'virtual' battery. What this means, in effect, is that the utility has to supply me in times of peak load just as they did before the solar was intstalled. What this means to the grid is that it has to continue to grow as the population and its demand for electricity grow but that they must manage "leveling" differently.

Where does the energy in that big green blob go? It actually goes to my immediate neighbors that don't have solar which means my neighbors aren't taking as much power from the utility as they used to which means the utilities baseline generation has excess capacity. So what do they do with that excess capacity? They store it or sell it. In Virginia that excess capacity is used to pump water from a low reservoir to a high one. At the time of peak demand (when the solar production - be it from customers' roofs or farms owned by the utility) is down the water is allowed to flow downhill to regenerate the solar energy stored earlier. In other places (Australia) the excess capacity is stored in battery farms. The essential point is that the utility must be able to send me power at the same level as it did before. Thus while the generation part of the grid will change because of solar the transmission infrastructure will not. It has to be able to send me as much power as it ever did. Also keep in mind that the sun sometimes goes in for days at a time and that it doesn't deliver as much energy in winter as it does in summer.

There is lots of talk about using renewables in mini-grids which could eliminate parts of the transmission infrastructure. In any case there are three main factors to consider in contemplating the influence of renewables on the future direction the grid, dispersed or localized, may take:
1)Storage
2)Storage
3)Storage

And, as not many regions are fortunate enough to have the geography for a pumped system that leaves batteries and that gets us right back to lithium which I think is going to reign for a long time. Fortunately there is plenty of it in sea water. The mines represent the low hanging fruit and mined lithium is this the least expensive.

But I really wish we would start a program on putting all utilities in the ground, were power would not be knocked out by wind or a drunk driver (last time I lost power was because a car crashed into a pole and severed it).
That's the trend in new neighborhoods but there are limitations on high voltage distribution above the 15 kV class.
 

FullyGrounded

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As Elon says, and I think he knows better than thee; Lithium is very abundant, look at its position on the periodic table. So, stop your fear mongering. All will be good as soon as Elon finishes building his own chip factory. He is already building batteries. He manufactures his type of stainless steel he uses. I'm guessing he's looking into mining whatever resources he needs. Elon doesn't baulk at difficulty - he assesses and decides on the most efficient way to conquer. Get used to this from Elon. peace
 

ajdelange

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Lithium definitely isn't abundant at 0.002% of the earth's crust relative to the 32 elements that are more abundant that it is (Including a couple of the rare earths). But it is abundant enough. It is easier to collect it from places where nature has concentrated it than it is to extract it from sea water so naturally producers go to those places first. But then you have to dig a hole and that upsets the tree huggers. But then those nuts have to have something to whine about or they would be totally useless. Hold on -- a thought is forming...
 

happy intruder

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As Elon says, and I think he knows better than thee; Lithium is very abundant, look at its position on the periodic table. So, stop your fear mongering. All will be good as soon as Elon finishes building his own chip factory. He is already building batteries. He manufactures his type of stainless steel he uses. I'm guessing he's looking into mining whatever resources he needs. Elon doesn't baulk at difficulty - he assesses and decides on the most efficient way to conquer. Get used to this from Elon. peace
yep
 

ldjessee

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It is certainly going to be interesting to watch the evolution but don't expect things to happen to fast. Here's the situation with home rooftop solar:

Solar_.png
I am still not sure why power lines have to go in the air. We manage to put other utilities in the ground (water, gas, sewage) and other countries have found a way to do it... (and I am aware of how grounding works)

Yes, storage will be important, but so will be adjusting power hungry industries and processes to when there is the most abundant energy.
The one I liked the most was smelting and melting of metals only when there is huge surplus of energy. The simplified example was if wind generation is up at the same time as solar, sure it could be stored, or, since power generation is much easier to predict than some realize, just setup to smelt aluminum, or make steel.

Some others have talked about making hydrogen for use as a fuel (for industrial furnaces, rockets, fuel cells). There is also the traditional pumped hydro (as you mentioned) or the new stacked/uphill weights. And of course, storage in batteries (as I hear Japan just bought a large Tesla grid tied storage along with the more famous one in Australia).

We have just in time manufacturing, were the parts arrive as you need them, what about just in time energy consumption, the process is in need of energy just as the energy production is going up and is available (solar, wind, tidal, etc)?

And, even with most residential roof top solar is over production because traditionally people were at work during peak production, it still takes some load off the grid, freeing up capacity for business/industrial/residences without solar (or lowering the baseload generation needs, as you point out).

And roof top solar on commercial and government buildings seems like a no brainer. Again, because peak output is during some use/occupancy. Yes, storage will still be needed, I do understand that.

I do expect it to happen fast, once people realize that it is faster, safer, efficient, and more economical.
 

Crissa

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Power cables are in the air because air is a powerful insulator. It's simply cheaper to suspend them in the insulating mixture which is 'air' than to dig a deep trench, cover them in special insulating material, and keep water and roots out of it.

We bury cables in many places, but pretty much only in the most densest areas or places which have chosen to make this expensive step - usually places with groun cheap to burrow in without many deep-rooting plants.

The water system we have locally is mostly not burried. Many water systems don't even have covers! We call those canals.

-Crissa
 

ajdelange

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I am still not sure why power lines have to go in the air. We manage to put other utilities in the ground (water, gas, sewage) and other countries have found a way to do it... (and I am aware of how grounding works)
It is doable. It is just 10 - 15 times more expensive, much more difficult to maintain and repair, has half the service life of an overhead system, requires active cooling... Looking to the future elimination of these lines by going to the more localized mini-grids seems more appealing.

Yes, storage will be important, but so will be adjusting power hungry industries and processes to when there is the most abundant energy.
It's just not practical to build an aluminum smelting plant that only works a few hours a day or that must be shut down if the wind calms.

Some others have talked about making hydrogen for use as a fuel (for industrial furnaces, rockets, fuel cells).
I fantasize about huge solar farms with hydrogen production plants co-located. There would also be fuel cells or turbine generators there. Hydrogen would be produced when the sun shines at terrible efficiency but no one would care about that because the electricity is so cheap.


There is also the traditional pumped hydro (as you mentioned) or the new stacked/uphill weights. And of course, ....
We are just agreeing that the missing piece right now is storage. I've got to mention one of my favorites here that works when the main load is A/C and that's ice (in the conventional sense - not the abbreviation we use here so much). Use PV energy to freeze lots and lots of water in a reservoir and melt the ice to air condition a building. There was a company in Ca that did a library and school or two that way IIRC but I think they went TU.

And, even with most residential roof top solar is over production because traditionally people were at work during peak production, it still takes some load off the grid, freeing up capacity for business/industrial/residences without solar (or lowering the baseload generation needs, as you point out).
This works as long as the rooftop solar production is very limited. In VA the utility had the state regulatory board limit total solar production to 1% of the load. That's been increased somewhat but without more storage management of this source of energy is going to be difficult.
 

Crissa

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It's just not practical to build an aluminum smelting plant that only works a few hours a day or that must be shut down if the wind calms.
Literally that's how aluminum plants work. They operate different shifts depending upon power availability. Solar is very predictable, but traditionally they use seasonal hydro.

-Crissa
 
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