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.
About Seth FletcherSee more books from this Author
The author provides an entertaining, surprisingly eventful history of human efforts to harness energy in the form of battery power since the days of Alessandro Volta, focusing closely on latter-day genius and evangelist John Goodenough, who worked on lithium oxides beginning in the 1950s but whos...| Read Full Review of Bottled Lightning
Electric cars are realâsee the Tesla Roadster, Chevy Volt, and hybrids like the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Priusâbut the drive to create safe, lightweight, and long-lasting batteries to power them has been anything but smooth.Feb 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Bottled Lightning
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 uni...May 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Bottled Lightning
And as Popular Science editor Fletcher demonstrates in his new book, subtitled “Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy,” it’s not so much a question of who’s killing the electric car anymore, but rather what’s the holdup.Jun 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Bottled Lightning
About FP We're busy building our media site.May 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Bottled Lightning
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