Guest post by Alec Rawls
[T]he Rock Springs Uplift’s 18 million tons of potential lithium reserves is equivalent to roughly 720 years of current global lithium production.
University of Wyoming researchers found the lithium while studying the idea of storing carbon dioxide underground in the Rock Springs Uplift, a geologic formation in southwest Wyoming.
The lithium is dissolved in a brine solution. Pump the brine out, goes the UW thinking, and you’ve got a nice space to bury some CO2.
The sequestration part is a non-starter, given that the external value of atmospheric CO2 is unambiguously positive. If anything we should be subsidizing its release, not trying to contain it, but since taxpayers are stuck financing this politicized research it’s nice to see something positive come from it. We’ll take the lithium and the greens can have the hole.
Has there already been a breakthrough in lithium battery technology, combining super-capacitor charge and discharge rates with high density energy storage? That’s what some researchers at the University of Illinois are claiming on a micro scale, and they seem to be suggesting that their battery architecture could be scalable.
That would be revolutionary, even making intermittent energy sources and battery powered vehicles practical, so by all means let’s encourage the carbon-sequestration fantasists to look for more lithium formations that could theoretically be useful for storing CO2. Hey, its not impossible that we could want to one-day store some carbon dioxide. After all, it is valuable stuff, and those lithium mines sound like an excellent place to put it. Just got to get the lithium out first.