A new water purification (desalination) technology could be the key to more electric cars. How?
“Eco-Friendly Mining” of world’s the oceans for the vast amounts of lithium required for EV batteries, could “mainstream” our acceptance (affordability and accessibility) of Electric Vehicles and provide clean water – forecast to be in precious short supply in many parts of the World in the not so distant future.
A potential solution is being researched that turns the world’s oceans into eco-friendly “Lithium supply mines.”
Scientists have outlined a desalination technique that would use metal-organic frameworks (sponge-like structures with very high surface areas) with sub-nanometer pores to catch lithium ions while purifying ocean water.
The approach mimics the tendency of cell membranes to selectively dehydrate and carry ions, leaving the lithium behind while producing water you can drink.
While the concept of extracting lithium from our oceans certainly isn’t new, this new technology method would be much more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Instead of tearing up the landscape to find mineral deposits, battery makers would simply have to deploy enough filters.
It could even be used to make the most of water when pollution does take place — recovering lithium from the waste water at shale gas fields.
This method will require more research and development before it’s ready for real-world use.
However, the implications are already clear. If this desalination approach reaches sufficient scale, the world would have much more lithium available for electric vehicles, phones and other battery-based devices. It would also reduce the environmental impact of those devices.
While some say current lithium mining practices negates some of the eco-friendliness of an EV, this “purification for Lithium” approach could let you drive relatively guilt-free
Reposted from Jonathan Fingas – Engadget