The next Energy Café discusses battery dreams, the race for lithium and their implications. The event will be hosted by Oliver Balch, freelance writer and researcher, and Anna-Sophie Hobi from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Moving towards a low-carbon future, Europe is pushing to electrify transportation. Oil-producing Norway leads Europe's use in electric vehicles (EVs), proposes to ban fossil fuel-driven cars by 2025 and boosts an emerging battery manufacturing industry. As in Norway, Gigafactories are being set up across Europe to supply cars with batteries.
At the same time, the vast demand for lithium-ion batteries has sparked a race to secure stable supplies of battery minerals such as lithium. The lightweight mineral is a key component in EV batteries, but almost entirely imported from Australia, Chile, China and Argentina, and controlled by China. The urgent demand leads to mineral exploration across the continent: Portugal has Europe's largest lithium deposits in central and northern Portugal. Lithium extraction could mean additional governmental revenue. But the projects with potential environmental damages and social impacts do not come without contestation.
The question of who will pay the high price of a low-carbon transition prevails.
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