Excerpt from euronews.com
The global push for green energy and low-carbon transportation solutions has led to a skyrocketing demand for lithium in recent years.
Lithium is the main element in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles, as well as overall energy storage, and leads us to a world less reliant on the intermittency of renewables. Prices for the battery material have surged in tandem with demand, increasing the pressure on the lithium industry to increase their yields.
However, there is a pressing need to address the lithium extraction process and make it more sustainable. There are currently two main ways of acquiring lithium: mining ore and extraction from an aqueous brine.
What are the issues with lithium extraction?
Mining the source spodumene for lithium is an intensive process requiring heavy machinery, toxic chemicals, and large amounts of water. This process has a direct effect on the local environment as it requires earth removal and the creation of tailing dams for contaminated water.