“Our need will be the real creator.” - Plato
No truer words can describe the urgency felt around the globe in achieving the goal of a Net Zero society by 2030.
Our climate calamities were once beleaguered, but no more.
The powers wielded by the global trends of social media, evolving consumer behaviour and the arrival of COVID19 have driven the cause to the upper echelons of political power. Combined, they've created the rapid shift of acceptance coupled with the advancements of science and technology.
No single industry is at fault, but our modes of transport are a critical contributor. At the top of the agenda is creating a sustainable alternative for gas that works as a bridge to net zero. Many believe that the power created via the lithium-ion battery (LIB) will belong to the suite of green energetics that our future is contingent upon.
Below, I illustrate why LIBs are on the table as a future transport power solution.
The case for the lithium-ion battery run electric vehicle
They are light, fast, efficient, and long-lasting.
Battery EV (BEV) cars cost less to run and fewer maintenance costs.
Conveniently charge your car at home.
EV preferential parking bays available.
Technology used in creating BEVs continues to be explored and developed.
Progress in battery technology will allow for quicker recharge times.
LIBs will last five times longer than the traditional car battery.
The BEV creates less of a carbon footprint than a regular vehicle.
Immediately, it’s clear to see the positive attributes BEVs possess. While the cons are few, they present serious challenges to lithium-ion batteries being a viable energy replacement.
The cost of an EV is mostly comprised of how much the battery costs.
A new battery is expensive.
Higher purchase price.
Finding charge stations.
Charging your car takes longer than filling it up with gas. There is also a limited number of charging stations.
These cons are unsatisfactory by today's standards that are set by ESG and ISO compliance for the sourcing of lithium compounds, their production and their end-life journey. Despite these cons, it didn't deter the debut of Elon Musk's Tesla BEV named after the Serbian American electrical engineer and physicist, Nikola Tesla.
Renewables Most Wanted
The BEV was once a niche choice in personal mobility. Musk's Tesla became an industry disruptor and was a highly sought after car for generation Z and top Youtubers being viewed as a sign of success back in 2018. Currently in the EU, the Tesla model 3 is the top seller.
In 2022, Gen Z continues to prefer renewable technology over coal powered products.
EU-based car manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Fiat, Renault, Peugeot and other household name car manufacturers have supplied the BEV with mainstream appeal and has since continued to increase in popularity.
The EU has the lion’s share of the 6.8 million battery fueled electric vehicles on the road globally, so there is a vested interest in maintaining and creating further technological advancements to support them.
The EU is dedicated to the transition of hydrocarbon fuel to green energetics.
The commitments below confirm that businesses and governments are confident and have faith in a green energy future.
Car manufacturers are phasing out the Internal Combustion Engine production (ICE).
EU banks and governments are no longer supporting the creation of coal projects.
EU countries have stated their end dates for the sale of ICE cars which will affect 50 percent of original equipment manufacturing car sales globally by 2030.
China is another key country that has stated publicly their intentions to discontinue coal and the production of internal combustion engine cars, by 2030.
18 of 20 of the largest car manufacturers in our world have committed to increasing their EV options and the parts needed to produce them are going to explode in demand.
BEVs vs ESG - The Challenges Ahead
Currently, EVs are available in four models, but the battery-operated EV is the true net zero hero. How we get lithium from the earth to the car in an ESG compliant way though, is another matter.
Overcoming these barriers successfully will be a first for history and the value garnered will be priceless. Mining companies need to start integrating sustainability practices in their business plans as a strategic priority.
The good news is that a new generation of ASX listed mining companies are creating the modernised changes needed for a cleaner mining mindset.
So, when the news breaks that a mining firm's practical plans in overcoming lithium’s ESG barriers is released, everyone’s interest is piqued.
That company is European Metals Holding (ASX:EMH).
Net Positive Business - ESG Style
European Metals Holding (EMH) is an ASX listed Aussie and UK developer and explorer. By using their Czech Republic located lithium-tin mine-site, Cinovec, they are defining their position as the EU’s premier green supply chain for lithium-ion batteries.
From the outset, EMH is making sustainability a strategic priority for their business.
Cinovec is a lithium resource that lies underground rather than as a reserve and is the largest hard rock project in the EU. This is highly appealing - part of the ESG concerns that lithium mining causes is due to the disruption to the land to access the mineral. By being underground, less invasive methods have been formed which lessen the environmental impact, selectivity is refined and the weather is kept at bay.
EMH’s partnership with CEZ, the Czech Republic government-owned energy conglomerate will provide the sustainable energy resources needed to power the Cinovec site.
Cinovec's successful Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been publicly released by EMH and it was conducted by Minviro, a UK-based globally acknowledged sustainable eco consultancy. It’s a huge credibility boost for the continued viability of EV’s run on lithium-ion batteries.
Due to the promising reports coming out from the Cinovec Project it has now been slated to have the potential to be a blueprint for all other lithium-ion producers worldwide.
Now that is an exciting prediction!
The Cinovec Project
EMH and CEZ plan to substitute the conventional methods used for raw lithium production with these green alternatives:
Czech grid base.
Solar powered lithium plant.
Full electric mining fleet of electric vehicles and of the mine itself using electric mining equipment.
Green Hydrogen - replacing regular gas with thermal energy for ore roasting.
The Minviro report compared the Cinovec Project against the standards for current practice flow sheets used in the traditional mining of Chilean brine, Australian spodumene and US sedimentary clay.
Current Flow Sheet Standards:
Global Warming Potential (GWP)
The standards measured are ISO compliant and the Minviro LCA was third party assessed by expert consultants in life cycle assessment reports.
EMH, Executive Chairman, Keith Coughlan commented:
“We are extremely pleased that the Minviro LCA has confirmed what we have believed to be the case for a long time – Cinovec has the potential to have the lowest overall environmental impacts compared to other conventional lithium battery metals projects not only in Europe but also on a global basis.
With the use of solar power and other optimisations the Cinovec Project will set a standard by which all other conventional lithium producers could be judged.
We expect the environmental credentials of the Cinovec Project will help make its product valuable to end users, particularly in light of the new EU requirements in relation to greenhouse emissions.
Not only does the optimised model demonstrate very low CO2 emissions, the Project also delivers excellent results with regards to acidification and water consumption.
Cinovec is a historic underground mine that possesses minimal social and environmental impacts. The entire ESG credentials of the Project are very strong.
In addition, we expect to shortly provide a market update covering the additional benefits of a mine backfill study and a revised PFS which updates the project economics and value of the Project.”
EMH’s green playbook for lithium sourcing will be the blueprint that will be referred to again and again as technology develops. I look forward to their next project update to see this new world of cleaner mining evolving in real time.
Are you intrigued yet? And this is just the beginning...
Investing in Rechargeable
Dude, where’s my charger?
Not surprisingly, our lives are increasingly functioning on rechargeable tech and the demand for lithium-ion batteries continues growing. It’s found in everyday devices as a component of scooters, phones, laptops and used in the creation of other products including glass and ceramics.
Green energetics is predicted to be a trillion dollar industry as reported by McKinsey.
Like gold and silver, lithium is a precious metal, but it cannot be traded as a standalone product. You need to invest in the businesses that mines it. Traders have raised concerns with the potential volatility of lithium due to the increasing demands on it, but others say it’s an excellent opportunity to grab onto, as you will see as you keep reading.
Electromobility - the Options Keep Coming
a) On Land
Iconic motorcycle company, Harley Davidson, recently announced their business decision to incorporate a new generation of bikes for Harley fans called the LiveWire utilising the rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The pivot was due to Harley Davidson staying abreast of their market changes. Traditional motorbike sales were lower, their target audience was ageing out and they saw the writing on the wall for their business. To continue to be a relevant competitor they needed to include and appeal to a new target audience who appreciate the renewable forms of transport.
b) On Water
The shipping industry is also beginning the transition to green energetics with a deadline of 2050. It’s the counterpart to the on-road supply chains but it’s just as prolific in its carbon emissions.
If you had any doubts about the imminent death of fossil fuels, then this news should change your mind.
Life on charge.
While we aren’t even halfway there yet, the reported changes afoot mentioned in this article and many others attest to the fact that our looming environment catastrophe is finally being taken seriously globally.
But first we need to solve today's issues.
Mitigate the ESG concerns of lithium mining.
Net zero and ESG compliant end life batteries recycling.
Create widely available electric vehicle charging stations.
Overall costs need to be reduced and financial and regulatory support is needed.
Integration of vehicle to grid.
What the end result will look like is as yet unknown, but I imagine it as an ever-evolving network of green energetic options as they become available - green hydrogen, lithium-ion batteries, solar power, wind power, tidal energy and more.
This network will allow us to evolve our technology options, reduce carbon emissions and reshape how we do business and live our lives.
All the while keeping the very thing that borne us into existence, alive.
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