New Magnesium EV Batteries For The Zero Emission Ride Of The Future

Photo-illustration: Unsplash (Chuttersnap)

The EV batteries of today are pretty good, but apparently you ain’t seen nothing yet. Researchers are eyeballing magnesium to take over from lithium, which so far has been the workhorse of the EV revolution. There’s just one little problem, or two, or a bunch of them.

Why EV Batteries Need To Do Better

Lithium-ion technology is the gold standard for rechargeable EV batteries and other devices, and it just keeps getting better. However, that doesn’t mean some other materials could do even better. It’s just a matter of working out the kinks.

Also, battery performance is just one element in the sustainable mobility field. With millions of EVs set to take the roads, waterways, and airways in the coming years, the many-headed Hydra of the lithium supply chain has been catching attention, and not always in a good way.

Environmental and social justice concerns also factor in. The global supply of lithium seems ample enough, but securing a domestic supply in the US is fraught with pitfalls and impacts, as it is in other parts of the world.

There is no such thing as impact-free clean tech, but subbing in magnesium for lithium could result in better-performing EV batteries while also opening up a broader range of domestic supply options in the US and other parts of the world, helping to avoid sensitive environmental, cultural, and social issues.

Here, let’s have the US Geological Survey explain:

Magnesium (Mg) is the eighth most abundant element and constitutes about 2 percent of the Earth’s crust, and it is the third most plentiful element dissolved in seawater…Magnesium and other magnesium compounds are also produced from seawater, well and lake brines and bitterns.

Bitterns, now that’s interesting. Bitterns are small marsh-dwelling birds known for their ability to keep a secret, and apparently magnesium is one of them, though USGS is probably referring to the solution left over from evaporating brines and seawater.

Where were we? Oh right, domestic supply of magnesium for EV batteries. If US policy makers want to build up the magnesium supply chain in the US, they better start cracking. Only a handful of companies currently produce magnesium from brine in the US, and back in 2018 the Elko Daily published a long form story about the only magnesium mine operating in the US, which is even more interesting than the mystery of the bitterns.

You can read the whole article here.

Source: Clean Technica