The Global Race for Battery Dominance and the New Energy Revolution
How a little-known mineral will affect our jobs and daily lives as much as, if not more than, AI or Big Data have done.
A global energy revolution is unfolding before our eyes: ever-growing numbers of electric vehicles on our roads, laptops that last all day on a single charge and solar panels on our roofs, all reliant on lithium-ion batteries. This revolution is happening at breath-taking speed, with the potential to completely transform key industries and the way we live.
For the first time in history, we can now actually store this green energy we talk so much about. Often referred to as ‘the new oil’, lithium allows large amounts of energy to be squeezed into a very small space. Demand is soaring, and the lithium business is full of drama: bitter rivalries, shady deals and exceptionally talented visionaries such as Elon Musk, who is building lithium battery giga-factories across the world.
This book travels from the salt lakes of the Tibetan plateau, where Chinese government–linked companies extract lithium, to Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, which hold the world’s biggest resources of the mineral. It reveals superpowers’ struggle to secure strategic supplies, and the astonishing efforts of lone-wolf inventors and entrepreneurs. Lithium also explores the environmental impact of lithium extraction, the limits to battery electrification, and lithium battery recycling as the way forward.
Lukasz Bednarski is Senior Battery Materials Analyst at IHS Markit, founder of the lithium industry portal Lithium Today and a former commodity trader.