We use cookies
to help provide you with a good experience on our website. By continuing to browse the website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Panasonic joins US project that extracts lithium for EVs ‘in weeks’

GO NET ZERO ENERGY

Panasonic joins US project that extracts lithium for EVs ‘in weeks’

Panasonic has joined a project led by U.S. oil services leader Schlumberger that seeks to extract lithium from underground salt water in a fraction of the time, reducing the process from over a year to a matter of weeks. - Nikkei Asia

Schlumberger has started a pilot plant to extract lithium from underground salt water in the U.S. state of Nevada, with Panasonic testing samples of the extracted lithium to determine if it is suitable for electric vehicle batteries. The Japanese company will also provide consultation on points for improvement.

Lithium is a main component in the batteries that power electric cars. As countries across the world hasten a movement toward reducing carbon emissions, electric vehicles have been tapped as a main driver of that movement.

However, a potential roadblock to getting more EVs on the world's roads is a shortage of lithium, cobalt and other minerals used for batteries, according to analysts.

The industry standard for recovering lithium is to either refine mineral ore deposits or to dry out brine in evaporation ponds. In the latter method, the brine comes from underground salt lakes and lithium concentrates are left over after solar evaporation.

But lithium produced through the evaporation pond method typically takes more than a year and include large concentrations of impurities. Schlumberger's technology directly extracts lithium from brine, and the company says its method can shorten the production schedule to just a few weeks.

Nevada is the home of Gigafactory 1, the lithium-ion battery plant Panasonic runs jointly with electric vehicle leader Tesla. Panasonic looks to leverage the project into a lithium source amid a looming shortage of raw materials.

Schlumberger is among the world's largest oil field services company that provides support in petroleum exploration and development. Revenue stood at $23.6 billion last year. Schlumberger is responding to the global decarbonization trend by pouring resources into hydrogen production equipment as well as the lithium business.

Lithium-ion batteries use the rare metal cobalt along with lithium. Material costs account for 60-70% of the expense of manufacturing automotive lithium-ion batteries.

Between 30% and 50% of the material costs comes from metals. Creating a procurement structure for rare metals that offers both stable supplies and low costs has become a challenge for battery and EV makers alike.

Some players have moved to secure interests in rare metal projects. China's CATL, the global EV battery leader, announced in April that it has invested in a Chinese company that owns an interest in a cobalt mine located in the Congo. Tesla purchased rights to a Nevada clay deposit field that contains lithium.

Panasonic however will distance itself from making direct investments in resources. The company is instead partnering with U.S. company Redwood Materials to recycle rare metals recovered from used batteries. Panasonic also plans to roll out in two or three years a high-capacity battery that is cobalt-free.

Relevant news

GO DIGITAL ENERGY
Schlumberger, Saudi Aramco to collaborate on digital sustainability solutions
Schlumberger, Saudi Aramco will enable to verify their emissions, while also evaluating decarbonisation pathways.
GO DIGITAL ENERGY
Wintershall Dea awards energy data project to Schlumberger
Schlumberger has been selected by Wintershall Dea as its preferred partner on the acceleration of its Terra Nova.
GO DIGITAL ENERGY
Schlumberger and Cognite to drive ‘step-change for industrial digitalisation at scale’ for energy sector
Enterprise Data Solution with an open, industrial platform will unlock customers’ operational data and deliver value faster.
GO DIGITAL ENERGY
Schlumberger technologies receive 2022 meritorious awards for engineering innovation
Schlumberger technologies have received its prestigious 2022 Meritorious Awards for Engineering Innovation.
GO NET ZERO ENERGY
bp opens first electric truck fast-charging facilities
bp’s Aral, has two 300kw chargers intended for electric trucks.
BP EV
GO NET ZERO ENERGY
Iberdrola & BP to spend €1BN on EV charge points
BP seek to team up for green hydrogen production.
BP EV