Notes from reading a recent backgrounder piece in Ars about batteries and the grid

This piece in Arstechnica about changes in the costs of batteries, and how it affects the interplay between electricity grids and electric vehicles is a pretty accessible, but it also goes into suprising amounts of detail about what Lithium batteries are made of.

It also includes a few eye-opening charts, like this one showing how the price of battery storage has fallen in the last ten years:


It also introduced a few ideas that I figure are worth sharing:

Lithium ion is a umbrella term

I didn't know before reading this that Lithium Ion was a sort of umbrella term for different kinds of batteries - the term can cover a number of different kinds of batteries each, using chemistry that challenges assumptions I had that batteries were largely made of materials that only came from a few places in the world, and often where conflict minerals are mined.

You can source materials to reduce dependencies on conflict minerals

I also didn't know that large companies are now taking steps to source materials domestically to address these issues:

"The cells, developed with LG Chem, use an NMCA chemistry, which uses a combination of nickel, manganese, cobalt, and aluminum for the cathode," Gitlin wrote. "GM says it has reduced the use of cobalt by 70 percent compared to the cells in a Chevrolet Bolt EV and that it plans to source as many of the raw materials from North America as possible."

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