Lithium is the lightest of all metals, with a density only about half that of water. It does not occur in the metallic form, but is found as chemical compounds in small amounts in nearly all ingeous rock and in the waters of many mineral springs, so that there are satisfactory deposits in the earth’s crust and oceans to meet society’s current demand for lithium.

Lithium is applied as a component of a light and firm alloy, in electronics and electrical technology and in the glass and ceramic industry. Because it has the highest specific heat of any solid element, it has found use in heat transfer applications. Lithium will also be the feedstock for the production of one component of fusion power station fuel – tritium. In a fusion reactor neutrons will transform the lithium contained in a “blanket” surrounding the plasma into tritium and helium.

Even if the total world energy production was to be covered by fusion power stations with a lithium blanket, approximately 3800 kg/GWy, lithium demand would still be only 25 % above the current pure lithium world production (6kt/y), which represents a very small fraction of world resources. Therefore, the progressive start-up of fusion power stations would not require significant adaptation for the lithium production and a wide scale use of lithium for fusion based electricity production is not expected to meet any resource limitations. One percent of global lithium resources can be found in the area of Cinovec, Krupka and Krasno in Czech Republic. This amount would be sufficient to supply the whole European Union. Jachymov and Cinovec are in the region of the Czech Republic’s Ore Mountains.

Name: Lithium
Symbol: Li
Atomic number: 3
Atomic weight: 6.94
Density @ 293 K: 0.53 g/cm3
Atomic vol.: 13.10 cm3/mol
Group: Alkali Metals
Discovered: 1817

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