DM_me_ur_tacos t1_jefbrxf wrote

Lithium is lithium. As recycled lithium comes onto the market there will be increasing opportunity for battery manufacturers to use it.

There are already robust salvage markets for copper, steel, aluminum and other valuable, recyclable metals. Auto manufacturers do not necessarily have to do this themselves.

Yes it will cost energy to recycle lithium batteries, and that cost is expected to be small compared to the value of the recovered material.


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_j7qhyrm wrote

Yeah, I see your line of reasoning, but so far we are nowhere near having fully automated assembly plants, especially for things that complex. A ton of human labor is required to maintain, operate and fix manufacturing lines and to keep an entire facility running. Automation is always increasing and the most ruthless capitalists of the world would love nothing more than to lay off the majority of their workers and just let their manufacturing pipeline churn out cars or whatever. We're not close to there yet.


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_j6v4mj8 wrote

Well, some superhuman AI might prove me wrong... But animals made of squishy, self replicating bio-materials are far far far more durable and adaptable than anything electro/mechanical/robotic, so far. Animal bodies are exquisite vehicles to transport, protect and fuel our brains

So yeah, a super intelligent AI confined to a server rack isn't going to take over the world, the AI will absolutely need some sort of "body"


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_j4z5914 wrote

I think that you underestimate how flexible demand can become. With adaptive pricing from utilities and adaptive charging from smart consumer devices, demand and supply should be able to be matched.

And if there is still more demand during sunny daylight hours, there is an obvious solution to that


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_j4i3u26 wrote

You're right.

And I am certainly not endorsing the congo.

But the people who come out of the woodwork to make these arguments usually are not sincere.

Suddenly they care about unethical child labor in the Congo. Suddenly they care about birds getting killed by windmills. Suddenly they care about the environmental impact of mining lithium.


They don't sincerely care about those things. Otherwise they would object to all the other unethical labor practices in the world. Otherwise they would seek to protect endangered species in oil rich habitats. Otherwise they would object to toxic mining practices used to extract coal and oil.


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_j43hwrb wrote

Are they supposed to be uni- or bi-directional?

If bi-directional, it could still comport with the second law because massive things could travel both directions. It would start out of equilibrium, but mass would accumulate/deplete from both ends so that the strength of gravity equalized


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_j1owg35 wrote

The entropy of the universe increases and humans are certainly experts at accelerating this process.

That said, we have huge energy reserves from our sun and potentially from fusion if it can be made viable.

If we can harness this energy, we will be able to recycle practically everything and extract purified raw materials from today's waste.


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_itozlpp wrote

Goes to show that science is not the brainless, alarmist hoax that many people believe it is.

Rather, it is self correcting and when a threat to the climate is found to have been overestimated, they correct it.


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_isojsys wrote

Interesting because I have heard that electrolysis efficiency is poor, but it never occurred to me that it is entropically favored so should be better at higher temperature


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_iry74xz wrote

Like I said, it was a strategic blunder to allow China to get the headstart on PV manufacturing. But if their panels are cost effective it's not like energy investors are going to abort projects because they are Chinese.

In terms if lithium, some quick googling suggests that Chile and Australia have reserves and production that dwarf China's. So while I wouldn't want to depend entirely on Chinese lithium, that doesn't seem to be a problem or a reason to abandon renewables


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_irx8uli wrote

These are very reasonable points of contention.

It would indeed be interesting to include the cost of sufficient battery storage with PV/wind so that they can deliver closer to base load. But fast forward a decade and I suspect that the combination of variable pricing (market mechanism woo!) and people owning beefy EV batteries will shape demand to match variations in supply. Some utility scale smoothing will also help.

My impression is that the lackluster grid infrastructure and PV manufacturing in the US are strategic blunders that should and will be remedied. Even if utility power generation weren't to change, the transition to EVs and proliferation of residential solar are going to necessitate a modern grid. In my opinion, invoking the grid as a reason to hold back on renewables is like saying that cars aren't useful because we can't be bothered to pave our roads, so let's stick with horse buggies.

Also, something that I suspect isn't in the lazard study is that PV panels are increasingly recyclable. This is in big contrast to fuel supplies from a shady sources that are single use (uranium, petro). The scarce materials in PVs are catalysts that can and should be recovered and reused.

Edit: I'm biased towards renewables, but not a nuclear alarmist


DM_me_ur_tacos t1_iruk4q6 wrote

Nuclear isn't even economical anymore compared to modern renewable options.

Moreover, PV technology has not plateaued -- conversion efficiency is still increasing and large scale manufacturing is still ramping up.