The Lithium Revolution
How the shift to clean energy has opened a window of opportunity for energy metals.
“The Lithium Revolution” infographic presented by: Dajin Resources
Commodity investors know that it in recent years, the sector has had a rough ride. Recently, factors such as China’s slowdown have weighed on short-term prices of industrial commodities like fuels and base metals.
However, not all of the energy sector has struggled. The rise of clean energy has continued to gain momentum, which could be a boon for energy metals producers and explorers.
Simply put, energy metals are metals used in the creation or storage of energy. Here are some examples of energy metals needed to make lithium-ion batteries, which are the storage mechanism of choice for many green energy producers:
Lithium: Lithium is the main ingredient to lithium-ion batteries – the metal’s ions move back and forth to charge and discharge the battery.
Cobalt: Widely used in lithium-ion cathodes
Graphite: The most common anode material for lithium-ion batteries.
Note: Uranium is also used for nuclear power, and copper is fundamental for creating and transporting energy around the world. However, in this infographic we focus on specialty metals.
Electric cars and energy storage for renewable sources have been driving the increases in price and demand for these sectors. Let’s take a look at the specific momentum that has been growing since 2014.
Political and social:
- Obama reveals clean energy plan: The push will involve more than $1 billion in government funds to back new clean energy and energy efficiency projects along with funding research and development of new energy technologies.
- Who were the biggest investors in renewable energy in 2014?
China ($83.3 billion), USA ($38.3 billion), and Japan ($35.7 billion)
- Volkswagen DieselGate scandal causes uproar, as it becomes clear that millions of the company’s vehicles have cheated emissions tests for years
- Elon Musk announces a mandate for Tesla Motors to acquire raw materials from the USA when possible.
- 4,000 people die, each day, of pollution related deaths in China alone.
- The United States deems lithium as a strategic metal and doesn’t give any statistics of its reserves or production.
- Tesla reveals plans to build $5 Billion Gigafactory in the Southwestern US.
- Tesla announces Nevada as the site of its already-famous Gigafactory project.
- The 1 millionth electric car is built in September 2015.
- Report surfaces that Apple plans to ship driverless cars by 2019.
- Google’s self-driving cars reach the milestone of 1 million miles driven autonomously.
- Tesla takes $800 million in orders for its new home batteries in just two weeks.
- A TSX-V traded company was the most recent recipient of an off take agreement to supply Tesla with Lithium Hydroxide.
- Volkswagen’s stock price gets crushed over 30% in the aftermath of DieselGate.
- FMC recently announced an “across the board 15% increase in price” in all finished lithium products. Lithium Hydroxide rose from $9,500 per ton, up to $10,870. Lithium Carbonate from $6,500 per ton up to $7,475 USD.
- Charging stations have increased rapidly around the world.
- Every major auto manufacture has more than one fully electric car. Some automakers mandate is to have an electric version of every model.
- The oil price has hit a 6.5 year low, yet electric vehicle sales have held momentum.
- Lithium battery manufacturing costs are dropping in price while lithium battery technology is getting better.
- New technology is decreasing the charge time for electric cars. Meanwhile, “miles per charge” is rising, and some cars can even recharge wirelessly.
- There’s a greater interest in looking after the environment with a continued scare of global warming.
- Wind and solar storage needed to regulate output of electricity back to the grid.
- China is a nation now giving priority to EV cars on their highways and parking lots.
The above momentum means energy metals like lithium could continue to buck the general trend of global commodities. So far, the price of lithium has increased steadily since 2011.
Visualizing the Scale of Global Fossil Fuel Production
How much oil, coal, and natural gas do we extract each year? See the scale of annual fossil fuel production in perspective.
The Scale of Global Fossil Fuel Production
Fossil fuels have been our predominant source of energy for over a century, and the world still extracts and consumes a colossal amount of coal, oil, and gas every year.
This infographic visualizes the volume of global fossil fuel production in 2021 using data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.
The Facts on Fossil Fuels
In 2021, the world produced around 8 billion tonnes of coal, 4 billion tonnes of oil, and over 4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.
Most of the coal is used to generate electricity for our homes and offices and has a key role in steel production. Similarly, natural gas is a large source of electricity and heat for industries and buildings. Oil is primarily used by the transportation sector, in addition to petrochemical manufacturing, heating, and other end uses.
Here’s a full breakdown of coal, oil, and gas production by country in 2021.
If all the coal produced in 2021 were arranged in a cube, it would measure 2,141 meters (2.1km) on each side—more than 2.5 times the height of the world’s tallest building.
China produced 50% or more than four billion tonnes of the world’s coal in 2021. It’s also the largest consumer of coal, accounting for 54% of coal consumption in 2021.
|Rank||Country||2021 Coal Production|
|% of Total|
|#7||🇿🇦 South Africa||234.5||3%|
India is both the second largest producer and consumer of coal. Meanwhile, Indonesia is the world’s largest coal exporter, followed by Australia.
In the West, U.S. coal production was down 47% as compared to 2011 levels, and the descent is likely to continue with the clean energy transition.
In 2021, the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia were the three largest crude oil producers, respectively.
|Rank||Country||2021 Oil Production |
|% of Total|
|#3||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||515.0||12%|
OPEC countries, including Saudi Arabia, made up the largest share of production at 35% or 1.5 billion tonnes of oil.
U.S. oil production has seen significant growth since 2010. In 2021, the U.S. extracted 711 million tonnes of oil, more than double the 333 million tonnes produced in 2010.
Natural Gas Production
The world produced 4,036 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2021. The above graphic converts that into an equivalent of seven billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to visualize it on the same scale as oil and gas.
Here are the top 10 producers of natural gas in 2021:
|Rank||Country||2021 Natural Gas Production |
|% of Total|
|#8||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||117.3||3%|
The U.S. was the largest producer, with Texas and Pennsylvania accounting for 47% of its gas production. The U.S. electric power and industrial sectors account for around one-third of domestic natural gas consumption.
Russia, the next-largest producer, was the biggest exporter of gas in 2021. It exported an estimated 210 billion cubic meters of natural gas via pipelines to Europe and China. Around 80% of Russian natural gas comes from operations in the Arctic region.
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