Batteries Not Included

The world is moving toward electric vehicles and clean energy, but a green future doesn’t depend on wind turbines, solar panels, and Teslas alone. It will also require a vast supply of advanced batteries. As a result, global demand for lithium—an essential battery ingredient—is outpacing supply, with the gap expected to grow in the years to come.

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  • Gabrielle Sierra
    Podcast Host and Producer

Asher Ross - Supervising Producer

Markus Zakaria - Audio Producer and Sound Designer

Rafaela Siewert - Associate Podcast Producer

Episode Guests
  • Frank Fannon
    Managing Director, Fannon Global Advisors
  • Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran
    Global Energy & Climate Innovation Editor, The Economist

Show Notes

Lithium is a lightweight metal used in most rechargeable batteries, from the pocket-sized batteries found in iPhones and computers to the heavy-duty ones that power electric vehicles  and home energy storage. This makes it a critical resource in the new energy economy. But there isn’t enough usable lithium to meet growing demand, and some experts fear that the trend threatens our ability to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C (2.7°F) by 2030. 

Corporations, lawmakers, and entrepreneurs are attempting to ramp up capacity, but problematic supply chains and China’s market dominance present significant challenges. Plus, lithium extraction is a messy business, and debate is growing about whether to mine and refine in the U.S.


Read More 


From Frank Fannon


Frank Fannon, “US needs to lead the way in building a new energy supply chain,” Financial Times


Frank Fannon and Michael R. Pompeo, “Time for a Responsible Clean Energy Supply Chain,” Foreign Policy


From Vijay Vaitheeswaran 


Vijay Vaitheeswaran, “How can the world’s energy be decarbonised?,” Economist 


Vijay Vaitheeswaran and Iain Carson, ZOOM: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future 


From CFR 


James McBride and Anshu Siripurapu “How Does the U.S. Power Grid Work?


Shannon K. O’Neil, “U.S. Should Look South for Better Supply Chains


Read More


Cade Metz, “Your Batteries Are Due for Disruption,” New York Times


Ivan Penn and Eric Lipton, “The electric-vehicle race is creating a gold rush for lithium, raising environmental concerns.,” New York Times


Justine Calma, “The US wants to fix its broken lithium battery supply chain,” Verge


Mary Hui, “China’s lithium companies are in an investment frenzy,” Quartz


Clifford Krauss, “Green-Energy Race Draws an American Underdog to Bolivia’s Lithium,” New York Times


MacDonald Dzirutwe and Tom Daly, “China’s Huayou buys lithium mine in Zimbabwe for $422 mln,” Reuters 


Keith Bradsher and Michael Forsythe, “Why a Chinese Company Dominates Electric Car Batteries,” New York Times


Watch and Listen 


Going Green With Lithium Has Environmentalists Torn,” Vice News


South America’s Lithium Boom: A Blessing Or A Curse?,” NowThis World


“Will green technology kill Chile’s deserts?,” Guardian


The ‘white gold rush’: Inside a lithium mine, where stores of recyclable energy lieABC News 


Lithium 101,” National Geographic


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