WANG Qiaochu, SUN Xin, HAO Han*, CHEN Wei, CHEN Weiqiang, ZHENG Mianping
科技导报, 2020, 38(15): 6-15
http://www.jnr.ac.cn DOI: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20200412
Lithium is widely regarded as a critical and strategic metal that plays an indispensable role in electric vehicles and energy storage technology. This study first provides a dynamic and holistic view on the historical evolution of the global reserve, production, and consumption of lithium. Material flow analysis (MFA) is then used to model the trends of supply, demand, scrap generation, and in-use stocks of lithium from 2020 to 2080. Finally, prospects, challenges, and policy recommendations for urban mining of lithium are discussed. It is shown that, driven by the increasing demand in batteries, the global lithium demand, scraps generation, and in-use stocks will keep fast growing over the next 60 years, and will reach≈1.50, ≈1.15, and ≈18.40 million tons, respectively by 2080. If no new recoverable reserves are found and if lithium recycling rate reaches 100%, then lithium natural reserves would be exhausted in 2080, shifting the future lithium supply from natural minerals to urban minerals. Hence, it is important and urgent to explore the urban mines of lithium, which will have positive influences on trade, resource, energy, and environment. However, there are still many bottlenecks in terms of recycling technologies, economic feasibility, and waste management system to be solved so as to ensure highly efficient and environmental utilization of urban mining of lithium. Several policy recommendations are thus provided.
Key words： lithium critical metal urbanmining resource recycling