The barrel and the battery: oil, lithium and the energy transition

A look at today’s energy mix provides a sobering reminder that oil, gas and coal continue to dominate the global energy system (see Figure 1).

Oil reigned supreme throughout the 20th century (reaching its peak in the mid-1970s) and while its share in the energy mix has fallen by 20% over the past 50 years, on an absolute level, oil consumption has grown year-on-year (see Figure 2).

This is an important consideration when discussing the ‘energy transition’ – a byword for achieving a net-zero energy system by 2050.

‘Energy transitions’ are not new. The world has . . .

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