January 12, 2024

Replacing lithium with… sodium?

Hey Superheroes, It looks like global markets are once again back in the uptrend, making last week’s performance look like a mere blip in the system. 👀  Both the RBA and the Fed released monthly inflation data this week. Australia recorded a year-on-year inflation level of 4.3% in November – lower than expected and a…

By Stella Ong

Home > Blog > News & Insights > Replacing lithium with… sodium?

Hey Superheroes,

It looks like global markets are once again back in the uptrend, making last week’s performance look like a mere blip in the system. 👀 

Both the RBA and the Fed released monthly inflation data this week. Australia recorded a year-on-year inflation level of 4.3% in November – lower than expected and a decrease from October’s 4.9%. On the flip side, the U.S. saw inflation rise from 3.1% to 3.4% in the year to December.

Here are some of this week’s biggest stories.

Microsoft celebrates two wins with AI-powered battery research

Microsoft is no stranger to AI-related partnerships – a good example is its massive investment into OpenAI – so it’s probably unsurprising to hear that Microsoft is also leveraging its AI technology to contribute to scientific advancement.

This week marked an especially big win in that endeavour with Microsoft announcing that its AI was able to assist scientists in discovering a potential replacement for lithium-ion batteries. 

🔋 Replacing lithium with sodium?

There are a couple of cons when it comes to lithium-ion batteries. Their energy density has room to improve and they can be susceptible to combustion. Additionally, these batteries naturally require a lot of lithium – which is expensive to mine and creates a lot of toxic waste in its production.

It makes sense then why Microsoft and a team of scientists set out to find a better alternative. Their AI-powered research proved successful with the computers assisting in developing a potential battery recipe that would require 70% less lithium than current ones do. The replacement they found is something we use every day: sodium. 

Yup, that’s the element found in table salt. 🧂

With this discovery still in very early days, only time will tell how it will affect the broader battery metals market.

🤖 Microsoft’s AI does 20 years of work in 80 hours 

Beyond the opportunity this provides battery manufacturers, this is also a big win for Microsoft as the discovery was made using Azure Quantum, its product built specifically for advancing science.

Using AI to screen over 32 million materials, Azure Quantum’s tech narrowed the best candidates down to just 20 in about 80 hours. Without the technology, the same research would have taken a massive 20 years.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs make it to Wall Street

After six long years of disapprovals the SEC finally approved spot Bitcoin ETFs into the U.S. markets. 

💰 How do they work?

The newly-approved spot Bitcoin ETFs will be the first in the U.S. markets approved to hold Bitcoin directly. Existing cryptocurrency ETFs (like NASDAQ:BITS) were only approved to hold cryptocurrency indirectly, such as through derivatives. 

The new ETFs will allow investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without having to hold it directly.

We’ve curated a list of the 11 ETFs approved by the SEC along with their proposed annual fees. 

They’re now available on Superhero Trading under our new “Crypto ETFs” category.

Kali Metals’ electrifying debut on the ASX

In lithium-related news closer to home, Kali Metals (ASX:KM1) made its much anticipated ASX debut on Wednesday. Investors quickly sent the stock up to a high of 89c a share – 256% higher than its IPO price of 25c a share.

Similarly, the lithium miner notched the #1 spot on Superhero’s most traded ASX stocks this week.  

So what’s all this hype about?

⛏️ A little background on Kali Metals

Kali Metals is a collaboration between two mining entities, Kalamazoo (ASX: KZR) and Karora Resources, a Canadian company. While both primarily focused on gold mining, they also managed projects with lithium potential. Consequently, they decided to consolidate their lithium assets,  creating Kali Metals.

💰 Kali Metals was a highly desired investment

Kali Metals is currently heralded as one of the ASX’s biggest debuts in the last 12 months, and its success is mainly attributed to its all-star investor lineup.

Its IPO in November last year was heavily oversubscribed and closed within 20 minutes. Investors include Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) and a few mining magnates including MinRes’ director Chris Ellison.

🔦  Some other things we’re shining the Spotlight on:

JB HIGH-FIVE: Aussie electronics retail giant JB Hi-Fi today hit an all-time high of A$57.85 following signs of consumer spending picking up.

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR THE EARNINGS: U.S. quarterly earnings season kicks off later today with big banks like JP Morgan, Citigroup and Bank of America reporting. Check out our earnings calendar for more info.

MINES STOP MINING: Right after Core Lithium suspended operations in one of its NT mines last week, Alcoa (NYSE:AA) this week announced its decision to slowly stop production in WA. The closures are expected to impact hundreds of jobs and come during price slumps for a number of metals.

That’s all for this week’s Spotlight! 

Thanks for reading!

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