Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “raw materials”

Large Lithium Deposits in Sonora, Mexico

Good news for the renewable energy transition. Large Lithium deposits found in Sonora province, Mexico. In fact, the largest in the world.

Lithium deposits, world-wide:

Location Size (Mt)
Sonora, Mexico 244
Thacker Pass, Nevada, USA 179
Wodgina, West-Australia 152
Pilgangoora, West-Australia 108
Earl Grey, West-Australia 94
Greenbushes, West-Australia 86
Whabouchi, Quebec, Canada 37
Altura, West-Australia 34
Goulamina, Mali, Africa 31
Arcadia, Zimbabwe, Africa 27

[] – All Sights on Mexico as it Discovers World’s Largest Lithium Deposit
[] – Top ten biggest lithium mines in the world
[] – Mineral Resource Estimate Update for the Sonora Lithium Project, Mexico
[] – Bacanora preparing to start Sonora lithium build in 2020
[] – Lithium-ion battery

[] – Lithium Price Spotlight

Lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price cif China, Japan & Korea, $/kg (midpoint)

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Germany Secures Access to Bolivian Lithium Reserves


Cooperation announced between German company ACISA and Bolivian state company YLB, that will hold 51% of the consortium.
Annual production target as of 2022: 30.000-40.000 Tons LiOH, sufficient for hundreds of thousands of e-vehicles.
Investment volume: 300-400 million euro.

[] – Deutschland sichert sich Lithium-Vorkommen

Iron Ore Mining for Wind Turbines

World map of countries that matter in iron production. Global annual production 3.3 billion ton. China (1.4), Australia (0.8) and Brazil (0.4) together produce ca. 82% of that amount.

For the global renewable energy transition to work, hundreds of thousands of steel wind towers, monopiles and nacelle’s need to be built. The good news is, the iron is there and currently relatively cheap.

Price iron ore: $85/ton [source]
Price steel plate: $470/ton [source]
(Steel plate can be used to manufacture monopiles and towers, see video at the bottom)

Weight of a large offshore wind turbine:

Tower head mass: 60 ton/MW [pdf]
Monopile 5 MW turbine: 2200 ton [source] (strong correl. with water depth)
Tower 5 MW turbine 100 m: 389 ton [pdf]

Rule of thumb 5 MW offshore wind turbine steel requirements: 300 + 2200 + 400 = 2900 ton

One million 5 MW offshore wind turbines require 2.9 billion ton or 88% annual global steel production.

Total world electricity consumption was 19,504 TWh in 2013. [source]
Annual electricity production 5 MW offshore ind turbine: 15 million kWh or 15 GWh

In other words: with 1.3 million offshore 5 MW wind turbines you have your global 2013 electricity consumption covered, if you ignore for a moment aspects like storage. And this time entirely fossil free, which was the purpose of the operation. But this ‘back-of-an-envelope’ exercise should give you an idea of the scale of the challenge.

[] – List of countries by iron ore production
[] – True giants of mining: World’s top 10 iron ore mines

Offshore wind turbine monopile production from steel plate.

Rare Earths Infographic

Rare earths are an essential ingredient for many modern achievements, like cell phones, computers and wind turbines. There are signs that supplies of these rare earths are depleting rapidly, see infographic (click picture below (twice) to enlarge:)
Sustainable Technology v2


Lithium in Bolivia

Lithium ist Heutzutage das neue Gold. Dieser Stoff ist der Schlüsselrohstoff für die nächsten Jahrzehnte. Lithium-Ionen-Akkus sind unverzichtbar für Autobatterien, Handys und Laptops. In dieser Dokumentation über die Lithium Gewinnung in Bolivien geht um den größten Salzsee der Welt. Dort vermuten Geologen die größten Lithium Vorkommen der Erde. Lithium ist das leichteste Metall der Welt und in Zukunft bald der Wichtigste Rohstoff. Denn ohne ihn könnte man keine rentablen Batterien und Akkus bauen. Mehr als die Hälfte der Vorräte lagern im Salar de Uyuni, dem größten Salzsee der Welt. Doch um das Lithium abzubauen ist ein Verdampfungskegel nötig, welcher über mehrere Jahre entwickelt wurde. Die Bolivianer wollen den Stoff selbst abbauen, da sie damit ein Milliardengeschäft machen würden – doch internationale Konzerne und deren Lobbyisten versuchen dies zu verhindern und es beginnt ein harter, aber unfairer Kampf zwischen den beiden Parteien.


3SAT documentary in German.

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Peak Phosphorus

Arno Rosemarin from the Stockholm Environment Institute explains the many challenges of phosphate rock, the main source of phosphorus used in fertilizers, running out.


How Long Will It Last?

We admit, this is the kind of stuff this site thrives on: densely packed information giving high level overview of the resource depletion situation. ‘Enjoy’.

Credits: Armin Reller of the University of Augsburg and Tom Graedel of Yale University.

All about Gold

There is much speculation in the light of massive fiat money creation that the gold standard might make a come-back. Detailed factsheet about gold, who owns it, who produces it, who consumes it, how much is there, what is its usage, what is the historic development of the gold price?


Realtime Data

This post is going to be used to collect sources of real-time online data of interest to this blog. This blogpost will be updated regularly.

Goldprice in euro
Exchange rates (dollar-euro default)

Real-time oilprices
eex (European Energy Exchange, trading in electric energy, natural gas, CO2 emission allowances and coal)
Prices for Dutch electricity

BHP Biliton largest mining firm

Even after the merger between Glencore und Xstrata, BHP Biliton remains the world’s largest mining firm. Iron ore is a major source for profit (38,5 billion $).

[Financial Times Deutschland][In German]

[BHP Biliton Wikipedia]

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