Rev. Met. Paris
Volume 106, Number 12, December 2009Selected papers from the 3rd International Seminar on Society & Materials, SAM3 - Freiberg, 29-30 April 2009
|Page(s)||554 - 558|
|Published online||08 December 2009|
How to assess the availability of resources for new technologies? Case study: Lithium a strategic metal for emerging technologies
The development of new technologies is often connected with the use of non-renewable resources. In recent years a qualitative shift in the demand of bulk metals (e.g. Fe, Al, Cu) to more scarce metals (e.g. Te, Ga, Re) is recognisable. Novel technologies and products rely more and more on very specific metals which are indispensable for their function. Although such metals are generally used in low concentrations in products, the demand has raised significantly due to mass production. Some of them are of high importance due to their strategic relevance to emerging innovative technologies. Lithium so far has gained relatively little attention, although it fulfills the main criteria of a strategically relevant metal. In recent years, however, recognition of lithium increased as a result of the growing market for lithium-based rechargeable batteries in mobile information/communication consumer products and in electric vehicles. Both areas of demand led to a skyrocketed use of lithium in recent years. Other technologies in the future like fusion power generation will raise lithium consumption at an accelerated rate. It is therefore necessary to determine the availability of lithium in the medium and long term in order to prevent technology failures and to ensure a more sustainable development. The authors will provide a wellfounded knowledge base, outline the availability of worldwide reserves and resources, and describe the structure of present and future demands for lithium.
© La Revue de Métallurgie, 2009
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