As Li ion batteries become a major component of automobiles in the future, the problem of the mineral resource of lithium is currently of interest. First, let us estimate how much lithium is needed to equip all the automobiles in the world, and then compare it with the known mineral resources.
The atomic weight of lithium is 6.94 g/mol. Each mol of lithium has 96,490 coulombs of electrical charge. The working voltage of the Li ion battery is 3.5 V. Therefore, the specific capacity of lithium is
If each car needs a battery of 30 kWh capacity, then 2.2 kg of lithium is sufficient. Currently, there are 600 million cars in the world. The total amount of lithium required is then 1.32 million tons.
According to the 2009 U. S. Geological Survey , the world’s total verified lithium reserve base is 11 million tons, which could equip all the cars in the world many times. Recently, according to New York Times , a huge amount of lithium deposition was found in Afghanistan. According to an internal Pentagon report, Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.” Because currently most of the lithium resource is from the concentrated brine in high-altitude saline lakes, the discovery in Afghanistan is not surprising.