HousingutahThe Great Salt Lake in the northwest is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and is rich in lithium, an important raw material for the production of electric vehicle batteries.The Wall Street Journal exclusively reported on the 12th that Lilac Solutions, a California startup, will announce this week that it has invested in Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the company founded by technology tycoon Bill Gates.investInvestors such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures have raised a total of 145 million yuan, and a mining plan to pump salt water to extract lithium ore will begin this summer.
Lilac Solutions explained that after water is extracted from the Great Salt Lake, it will be pumped back into the lake to reduce the environmental impact of the lithium mining process. At peak production, it is estimated that 80,000 gallons of lake water can be pumped per minute. The plant in northern Utah aims to produce 20,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium ore per year.
Great Salt Lake is one of dozens of mining projects aimed at boosting domestic lithium supply as the United States moves toward clean energy.bidenThe government has invested billions of dollars to strengthen the battery supply chain and reduce the United States’ dependence on China for battery minerals.
The report notes that the challenge facing lithium mining in the United States is how to extract the minerals effectively while minimizing environmental damage.
Dave Snyder, founder and CEO of Lilac Solutions, said there are large mines of lithium in the United States, “but this chemical is very difficult to process.” Lithium extraction technology has existed for decades, but Lilac Solutions says developing its own technology could reduce the environmental impact.
A common practice among mining operators in Chile and elsewhere is to pump salt water into man-made ponds and use an evaporation process to separate the lithium from other substances in a process over 18 months. The disadvantages of pumping groundwater are that it impacts precious water resources and the manufacturing process can leave toxic residues.
Schneider said Lilac Solutions said the technology it developed could shorten the extraction process to just a few hours and preserve the water storage capacity of the natural environment. He said the company spent more than 500,000 hours testing the new technology on more than 70 brine samples from around the world.
Investors in the fund raised by Lilac Solutions also include Japanese industrial giant Mitsubishi Group. Schneider said he is currently in talks with large battery makers and automobile manufacturers for supplies of lithium ore, and has also started a pilot project in Chile.