Fossil Fuels should be replaced by electrical energy, the so-called „clean energy“. But is this energy really clean?
What about the fish deaths in Tibet that occurred based on a #toxic chemical leak from a #lithium mine that destroyed the local ecosystem. In 2016 pictures of dead fish masses were published. Also, dead cows and yaks were floating downstream after drinking contaminated water.
With new targets of the #Governments like the EU targeting 30 Million electric vehicles until #2030 the demand for lithium thrives to an exponential increase.
The winning process of lithium is cheap and effective but needs a lot of water. About 500.000 gallons per tonne of lithium. That is a big problem, especially in South America. For example in Chile (Salar de Atacama) mining activities consumed 65% of the region’s water which had a big impact on local farmers.
So what will be the #price for “clean energy”?
Cobalt Extraction is also very problematic for our #environment. Most of the global resources for cobalt (two-third) are found in huge quantities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa.
The issue here is that the extraction occurs from the ground by hand. In order to make „green“ #energy possible for us, hundreds of people die every year. And the worst thing about that is the amount of children. Research of the „Öko-Institute e.V.“ showed that almost 30% of the workers are children under the age of 15. The mines have not enough protection against landslides, shaft collapses or water ingress.
Link to the research of „Öko-Institut e.V.“:
Also, bad about this situation is that against all this sacrifices, most of the extraction processes are owned by China. China has over 80% control of the cobalt #refining industry, where raw #material is turned into commercial cobalt metal.
If we do not find a #sustainable solution to stop this non-moral based activities or to cut the #damage tremendously, we will always remember the sacrifices that have been made for our „green“ energy.
Many of the #battery chemistries in today’s market contain big amounts of Nickel. Nickel has 2 types of deposits. Sulfide and laterite.
Batteries need a high purity nickel. That‘s why today the biggest source for nickel is sulfide nickel. The sulfide nickel is mined and refined with a lot less #environmental impact than laterite nickel. That is, why sulfide nickel is called „clean“ nickel.
The problem with sulfide nickel is, that the sources are very limited and most of the known sulfide mines are already emptied. So when the need for nickel expand we need to source the nickel mostly from laterite nickel ore, which has lower concentrations of nickel.
That means that it needs a lot of energy to smelt and refine it by burning cole 90 tons of CO2 is produced to get 1 ton of nickel out of laterite nickel ore. That is a big problem and will also endanger the targets of #CO2 neutrality. By the way, you need to free the total surface and everything living on the surface if you want to get the laterite nickel. This is why the tropical rainforests of Indonesia and the Philippines are in destructed.
Now we understand that our so-called „green energy“ is not really as „#green“ as we think. But what shall we do now? Stop the development of new electric vehicles and go back to injection combustion #engines?
As the #development goes on, we still are investigating new chemistries for the batteries that will help us to overcome these issues of limited resources. So for the #future, I am sure that we will find good solutions.
I am very confident that altogether the engineers on this planet will find a way to make this energy a green one for real.
There is no way to efficiently #recycle them? Sorry to disappoint you, but THERE IS!
Unfortunately the mainstream media often tells that the recycling of lithium-ion batteries is not possible or that the efficiency is not big enough. But these statements are made on the basis of low-quality research.
Since 2000 there have been a couple of researches and publications on the recycling of lithium ion batteries. These researches were mainly made by chinese institutions and research groups (60% of researches about recycling of li-ion batteries are published in china).
More about the possibilities of recycling lithium-ion batteries and how #niocycle will be able to recycle more than 96% of the waste batteries with a maximum efficiency will follow soon.