The potential scale of the United States’ electric vehicle battery production has been given an encouraging boost following a new analysis of the Salton Sea geothermal deposits.
A Department of Energy report detailed that there is enough lithium in the Southern California site to create batteries for 375 million EVs, as The Press-Enterprise reported. It’s enough to replace every dirty-fuel-powered vehicle on U.S. roads today.
“It’s pretty exciting how much is there,” said Michael McKibben, a geology research professor from UC Riverside who contributed to the report.
"A federal analysis released Tuesday confirmed Southern California’s Salton Sea contains enough lithium to meet the nation’s needs for decades."https://t.co/UX0hc0CKWq— Human Progress (@HumanProgress) December 7, 2023
While not only representing a bright future for the production and take up of low-pollution vehicles throughout the country, it also signals a clear path to move away from reliance on lithium imports from South America and China.
EnergySource Minerals is just one of the companies looking to take advantage of this resource, with plans to build a lithium facility in the Salton Sea area by 2025.
It is seeking to deliver the “cleanest, most efficient lithium process in the world,” which will see it extract the valuable metal from the brine created by existing geothermal electric plants.
The expected facility will extract the lithium found in that brine before injecting the unused substances back into the Earth.
Current processes to extract lithium usually involve hard-rock mining or massive evaporation pools, according to The Press-Enterprise, and both can be harmful to the environment.
EnergySource Minerals’ method will be far less intrusive and much more cost-effective, which should be beneficial for future EV customers as electric cars and trucks should be less costly to construct, with savings theoretically passed on to consumers.
The United States Government has set a goal to make 50% of all vehicles electric by 2030, and abundant lithium sources will be vital to achieve it.
Lithium batteries can be charged quickly and transfer energy efficiently, making them a key component of electronic devices. While some have criticized the technology for not being as environmentally friendly as advertised because of the difficulties of recycling the materials in these batteries, many companies are proving that lithium can be extracted from old batteries and used again in a cost-effective manner.
And with the southern states in America embracing the battery boom, thanks to green policies and initiatives introduced by the U.S. Government, the nation’s impressive lithium reserves will no doubt encourage domestic development and electric vehicle delivery.
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