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The Big Switch

The High Stakes for Battery Ingredients

This is the third episode of a five-part series exploring the lithium-ion battery supply chain. If you haven’t listened to the first two episodes, we recommend you start there

Season 4, Episode 3

Turning raw materials into usable ingredients is a critical step in the battery industry. How do we process them in a responsible way?

Batteries can replace gasoline in our cars, or diesel in our generators with electricity. But batteries and petroleum-based fuels share something in common: they both rely on energy-intensive processes to turn extracted materials into something useful.

The middle stage of the lithium-ion supply chain is called processing – and it’s a critical one. To make lots of affordable batteries, we have to process a lot of materials. It’s a big, lucrative business with real impacts to local communities and the environment.

In this episode, we dig into step two of the supply chain: processing all those minerals into usable ingredients for batteries. 

Why are countries so keen on building giant processing facilities? And can we process all the minerals we need to fight climate change in a responsible way?


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