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Bottled Lightning

Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy

Bottled Lightning by Seth Fletcher
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The sleek electronic tools that have become so ubiquitous—laptops, iPods, eReaders, and smart phones—are all powered by lithium batteries. Chances are you've got some lithium on your person right now. But aside from powering a mobile twenty first-century lifestyle, the third element on the periodic table may also hold the key to an environmentally sustainable, oil-independent future. From electric cars to a "smart" power grid that can actually store electricity, letting us harness the powers of the sun and the wind and use them when we need them, lithium—a metal half as dense as water, created in the first minutes after the Big Bang and found primarily in some of the most uninhabitable places on earth—is the key to setting us on a path toward a low-carbon energy future. It's also shifting the geopolitical chessboard in profound ways.

In Bottled Lightning, the science reporter Seth Fletcher takes us on a fascinating journey, from the salt flats of Bolivia to the labs of MIT and Stanford, from the turmoil at GM to cutting-edge lithium-ion battery start-ups, introducing us to the key players and ideas in an industry with the power to reshape the world. Lithium is the thread that ties together many key stories of our time: the environmental movement; the American auto industry, staking its revival on the electrification of cars and trucks; the struggle between first-world countries in need of natural resources and the impoverished countries where those resources are found; and the overwhelming popularity of the portable, Internet-connected gadgets that are changing the way we communicate. With nearly limitless possibilities, the promise of lithium offers new hope to a foundering American economy desperately searching for a green-tech boom to revive it.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux; May 2011
304 pages; ISBN 9781429922913
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Bottled Lightning
Author: Seth Fletcher
 
  • News
Seth Fletcher on Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy (Podcast) - Treehugger
Thu, 07 Jul 2011 09:36:58 -0700
TreehuggerSeth Fletcher on Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy (Podcast)TreehuggerSeth Fletcher is a ...
The Truth About Toyota's New Magnesium Battery - Popular Science
Tue, 18 Jan 2011 13:45:54 -0800
Popular ScienceThe Truth About Toyota's New Magnesium BatteryPopular ScienceBottled Lightning is a blog series by Seth ...
At Least for the Next Ten Years, “Peak Lithium” is Nonsense - Popular Science
Thu, 20 Jan 2011 13:03:00 -0800
Popular ScienceAt Least for the Next Ten Years, “Peak Lithium” is NonsensePopular ScienceBottled Lightning is a blog series by ...
ISBNs
9780809030644
9781429922913