Aquatech has been awarded a contract for the lithium refining and purification process plants by Lithium Americas Corp for the Thacker Pass lithium project in Nevada, the largest known lithium reserve in the US. Aquatech has commenced work on the project, which includes multiple process trains incorporating evaporation and crystallization systems for purification and chemical production of lithium carbonate (Li2CO3).
As we continue to strive for transport decarbonisation, the demand for lithium batteries is growing at an unprecedented rate. To meet these demands, companies that were once solely focused on water treatment, such as Aquatech, are diversifying into lithium extraction and mining. This trend is becoming more and more common as the value of lithium rises, posing great opportunities for these companies while also addressing the need for environmental sustainability.
"Delivering innovative process technology to enable critical mineral recovery from extraction to high-purity products for electric vehicle battery production and battery recycling is a top priority at Aquatech,” said Venkee Sharma, Aquatech's executive chairman.
“Moving towards energy decarbonisation is a critical step to adapt to a changing climate, and we are devoted to supporting industries in these efforts."
Electric vehicles driving demand
The demand for lithium batteries is rapidly increasing due to the need for electric vehicles, which is driving the need for lithium mining. Companies that used to provide water treatment solutions are also diversifying into the lithium industry, taking advantage of the economic and environmental opportunities that lie within.
These include companies such as Veolia and Suez, both of whom have extended their services to include lithium extraction and chemicals to support battery manufacturing. This diversification is essential to ensure a reliable and sustainable supply chain for the transport industry.
As companies diversify into the lithium industry, they are also investing in innovative technologies that enable more sustainable lithium extraction. For instance, Eramet, a French company, is exploring ways to extract lithium from clays, an alternative to brine deposits that have caused environmental issues in the past. Such innovative approaches to lithium extraction align with the goals of transport decarbonisation and pave the way towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Worldwide lithium manufacturing investment
The transition towards sustainable lithium extraction and battery manufacturing is also attracting investments from governments across the world. The European Union aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 55 per cent and ensure that 30 million electric vehicles are produced by 2030. In response, the French government has invested in research and development of sustainable lithium extraction, and the industry is projected to create new job opportunities and drive economic growth.
Despite the opportunities presented by diversification into the lithium industry, these companies are also facing challenges such as the scarcity of raw materials and finding environmentally sustainable ways to extract lithium. Further investment in research and development of innovative extraction methods is required to ensure a long-term sustainable supply chain for the transport industry.
As we continue to move towards transport decarbonisation, the demand for lithium batteries will continue to grow. Companies that have historically been involved in water treatment are diversifying into lithium extraction and mining, aligning their services with the goals of environmental sustainability.
Innovative technologies and investments from governments are driving this transition, while the industry itself is creating new opportunities and driving economic growth. It’s clear that diversification into the lithium industry is essential in ensuring a reliable and sustainable supply chain for the transport industry, while also addressing the pressing need for environmental sustainability.