Du fer contre le lithium… ou pas

Nicholas Yensen et Peter B. Allen, chercheurs à l’université de l’Idaho, dans un article publié dans Hardware X :

The price of renewable energy is dropping rapidly. Energy storage will be needed to take full advantage of abundant but intermittent energy sources. Even with economies of scale, the price is prohibitively high for a lithium-ion battery pack capable of storing tens of kilowatts of energy for many consumers. A more abundant and less expensive material is necessary. All-iron chemistry presents a transformative opportunity for stationary energy storage: it is simple, cheap, abundant, and safe. All-iron batteries can store energy by reducing iron (II) to metallic iron at the anode and oxidizing iron (II) to iron (III) at the cathode. The total cell is highly stable, efficient, non-toxic, and safe. The total cost of materials is $0.1 per watt-hour of capacity at wholesale prices. This battery may be a useful component of open source hardware projects that require a safe and ecologically friendly battery. This is also one of the few battery chemistries that can be built safely in a DIY setting.

Par coïncidence, Laura Millan Lombrana, Bloomberg :

Between mid-2015 and mid-2018, prices for lithium, the soft, silvery-white metal crucial for rechargeable batteries, almost tripled as the world’s fleet of electric vehicles hit the 5 million mark, and the auto industry began to fret over the supply of raw materials.

That sparked the opening of six lithium mines in Australia since 2017 as companies raced to gain from an evolving technology. But while the EV boom is coming, it isn’t here yet. Sales growth is slowing in China, the top market, and the drive to fill the battery supply chain has cooled. The result: A 30% price plunge for lithium that’s spurring concern over where the bottom may lie.