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Demand for batteries is skyrocketing - we need new ways of extracting lithium

Can innovative new lithium extraction methods prevent a supply chain crisis?

New lithium extraction methods are essential to meet the rising demand driven by EVs and grid storage. Traditional methods are time-consuming, geographically limited, and in some cases environmentally damaging. The concentration of lithium mines worldwide has implications for the supply chain; the fewer producers there are, the higher the likelihood of disruption. Lithium often travels tens of thousands of miles, so reducing these scope 3 emissions is critical. Xerion is a company who are trying to address this issue. John Busbee is Founder and CEO, and he chats to David about Xerion’s development of new lithium extraction techniques.

Xerion are also developing methods to create newer, more efficient batteries with the lithium they extract. Paul Braun is the Director of the Materials Research Laboratory, and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois. He also joins the show, and says there’s no escaping lithium as a key component for EVs and batteries, so the question is how to mine it efficiently and with minimal environmental impact. New techniques in extraction and battery production promise to reduce CAPex by two-thirds and emissions by 40%. How do they do it? Can these technologies make clean energy more accessible and affordable? David finds out.

The Interchange will be at the annual Solar & Energy Storage Summit in San Francisco from the 12th of June. We’ll be recording some special shows from the event, with all the conversation and analysis on the solar sector in the US and beyond. Get your ticket here.

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