Vulcan Energy Resources completes study for German 'zero carbon lithium' project

by John Shepherd
Insheim geothermal power plant in Germany. Photo: Vulcan Energy Resources
Vulcan Energy Resources has said it is on course to become the world’s first "zero carbon lithium producer”, after the company completed a pre-feasibility study (PFS) of its combined renewable energy and lithium hydroxide project in Germany.

The Australia-listed company said the total JORC resource of the project – which comprises multiple licensed areas in the southwest Upper Rhine Valley – is 15.85 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent.

Founder and CEO, Dr Francis Wedin, said Vulcan will now ramp up talks with potential offtake partners in Europe, as the EU develops a home-grown supply chain for battery production to serve the burgeoning electric vehicle industry.

Vulcan will also launch a definitive feasibility study and scale up its pilot lithium extraction programme, Wedin said.

'Ethical sourcing'

"We’ve shown the potential for zero carbon production of lithium hydroxide, with co-production of renewable geothermal energy, to be highly profitable as well as environmentally friendly.”

"This means that there doesn’t need to be a compromise on the ethical and environmental sourcing of battery raw materials for Europe’s current rapid transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy storage,” Wedin said.

Vulcan says its production process is more environmentally friendly because its hot salar brine feedstock produces heat for renewable power production – in addition to providing lithium, which reduces the overall carbon footprint of the process.

The company uses direct lithium extraction "to isolate lithium as opposed to using large volumes of chemicals to dissolve a rock feedstock or soda ash for brine”.

Vulcan said the PFS values its lithium resources at €2.8bn (£2.5bn) before taxes – and the project "could extract enough for one million electric vehicle batteries annually car batteries per year and start production in 2024”.

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