This article is from Ecomento.com Lithium hydroxide is the stuff that makes today’s lithium ion batteries work but supplies are being stretched thin as the automotive industry calls for more and more battery electric vehicles. In fact, one principal supplier, FMC, has raised its price for lithium hydroxide by 10% twice in 2014. Tesla Motors expects its new GigaFactory to produce 20 times more lithium batteries than were manufactured world wide in 2013. Industry giant LG Chem has just broken ground for a new factory in China that will produce another100,000 batteries annually. Simon Moores of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence tells Wall Street Daily the demand for all lithium chemicals used in batteries will increase by as much as 50% shortly. Without an equivalent boost in lithium hydroxide supplies, shortages could occur as soon as next year, driving prices up 30% or more from current levels. Does all this mean the world is about to run out of lithium hydroxide? Probably not. Battery research is proceeding at a furious pace around the globe, spurred on by the promise of enormous profits. One way to offset the rising cost of lithium hydroxide is to squeeze more energy density out of every battery. In June, a team of researchers at the Tokyo School of Engineering announced a new lithium ion battery that has 7 times the energy density of a standard battery. Some researchers are experimenting with batteries that substitute potassium or aluminum for lithium. Other people think batteries will lose out completely to advanced supercapacitors that can be recharged in seconds and store more electrical energy than any lithium ion battery available today.