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Supply and demand response trends of lithium resources driven by the demand of emerging renewable energy technologies in China

Liu, Donghui, Gao, Xiangyun, An, Haizhong, Qi, Yabin, Sun, Xiaoqi, Wang, Ze, Chen, Zhihua, An, Feng, Jia, Nanfei
Resources, conservation, and recycling 2019 v.145 pp. 311-321
dynamic models, electric power, energy, imports, industry, lithium, market prices, markets, recycling, renewable energy sources, risk, supply balance, China
The supply and demand response trends of lithium resources in China are investigated under the obvious changes caused by the rapid development of emerging renewable energy technologies (ERETs), such as electric energy storage (EES) and new energy vehicles (NEVs). A system dynamics model for renewable energy technology–lithium supply and demand is developed based on the industrial chain of lithium resources. Then, we analyze how the trends in the lithium market price, the supply and demand gap, the import volume, and the composition of lithium consumption will change with the rising demand of EES and NEVs. The model is simulated under three different demand level scenarios. The results show that the lithium market price will experience 2 processes in which the market price first gradually increases and is followed by a rapid decline, which is due to the incentive for upstream industries to increase production, resulting in oversupply. There are relatively large gaps between supply and demand, especially in later periods under a high NEV demand scenario. The import volume of lithium resources increases significantly after period 20 due to the rapid development of EES and NEVs. The import volume is much greater under the high scenario in later periods. The EES will play a significant role in the market, which tends to be ignored in the literature. Lithium recycling and extraction technologies, especially for brine, require a breakthrough to increase domestic production to cope with various challenges, including supply shortages and import risks.