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Rare Metals: Energy Security and Supply
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Lithium and neodymium are two critical materials in our modern society, many technological solutions depend on them. Lithium is used in batteries, which are used in cars and portable electronics. Neodymium, which is a rare earth element, is mainly used in permanent magnets which are used in smartphones, hard disc drives and turbines. There are many reports regarding the availability of the metals, with different results. The available data on the reserves varies considerably, from the few sources there are. In this report, based on geological availability, forecasts are done to investigate how much the production can increase and when it will peak. The prognoses are based on historic production to which different functions, the logistic, gompertz and richards, are fitted with the least square method. The production will peak in the end of this century and in the beginning of the next century for both metals. The production of lithium does not seem to be sufficient for both producing electric and hybrid cars with only li-ion batteries along with fusion. The neodymium production will be sufficient for producing a lower percentage of direct driven wind turbines and electric cars with NiMH batteries. Lithium in seawater is sometimes considered a future source. Since the lithium concentration is low, large volumes have to be processed in order to extract a reasonable amount of lithium. Currently it is not economic to extract lithium from seawater. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 82 p.
UPTEC F, ISSN 1401-5757 ; 12002
Keyword [en]
peak minerals, peak lithium, peak neodymium, rare earth elements, modelling, resource depletion
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-168130OAI: diva2:491055
Educational program
Master Programme in Engineering Physics
Available from: 2012-02-08 Created: 2012-02-06 Last updated: 2012-02-08Bibliographically approved

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