There is a high demand for some rare earth elements and metals globally as car makers are turning to electric cars instead of cars and trucks powered by combustion engines.
One of the challenges facing electric vehicle production is finding enough raw materials, which can be difficult to purchase and sometimes scarce.
One of the primary raw materials for building batteries used in electric cars is lithium.
And theAnnounced Germany has discovered large deposits of lithium under the Rhine and plans to extract important materials.
And according to geologists’ estimates, the sediments under the river could contain enough to build 400 million electric cars, making it one of the world’s largest deposits.
The Upper Rhine Valley is located in the Black Forest region of southern Germany, in an area about 300 km long and 40 km wide.
Lithium is molten and trapped in underground springs of boiling water thousands of meters under the Rhine.
If the material could be successfully extracted, it could reduce Germany’s dependence on imported lithium, and early talks are already underway with car manufacturers.
Focusing on the rapidly growing demand from Germany’s electric car industry, energy and mining companies alike are seeking to bring lithium trapped in boiling underground springs thousands of meters below the Rhine to the surface.
The authorities, wishing to extract critical materials, are concerned about potential domestic opposition to the mining operations.
Even now, most lithium deposits are found in remote areas of Australia or South America, where there are few residents to oppose mining operations.
German-Australian startup Vulcan Energy Resources plans to invest about $ 2 billion to build geothermal power plants and lithium extraction facilities.
The company believes it could extract 15,000 tons of lithium hydroxide annually in two locations by 2024.
The second phase begins in 2025 onwards, and aims to produce 40,000 tons per year at three additional facilities.
Lithium is often referred to as white gold as a component of batteries needed for the low-carbon economy, and prices have soared this year as demand from the electric vehicle sector begins to outpace supply.
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