Stellantis Controlled Thermal lithium

Stellantis Invests in Controlled Thermal for Lithium Boost

Leading automobile assembly firm Stellantis has unveiled a strategic move aimed at securing a robust supply of lithium, a crucial component for electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Stellantis announced on Thursday a substantial investment of more than $100 million in California’s Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR), a pioneering player in the realm of lithium extraction.


This investment comes against the backdrop of mounting concerns spurred by the global shift towards green energy and the recent enactment of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. Industry experts have raised alarms about the potential scarcity of lithium and other essential materials necessary to fulfill burgeoning EV demand projections.


The heart of Stellantis’ investment lies in embracing direct lithium extraction (DLE) technologies for its EV batteries . While methodologies of DLE vary, their core objective is to extract lithium from saline brine deposits, offering a promising alternative to conventional, environmentally taxing approaches such as open pit mining and large evaporation ponds.


CTR’s ambitious undertaking involves dedicating $1 billion to the separation of lithium from superhot geothermal brines. This innovative extraction and production process is poised to substantially curtail carbon emissions associated with traditional methods.


Rod Colwell, CEO of Controlled Thermal, expressed unwavering confidence in the venture, affirming, “This significant investment marks a decisive stride in advancing this pivotal project.” The collaboration is expected to nearly triple Stellantis’ lithium procurement from CTR, elevating its initial order from 65,000 metric tons per year to a minimum 10-year commitment commencing in 2027.


One of the primary challenges addressed by Controlled Thermal is the prevalent presence of high concentrations of silica within the brine. This hurdle was surmounted through the establishment of a state-of-the-art $65 million facility engineered to efficiently eliminate unwanted metals and impurities.


Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO, hailed the partnership as a milestone in the company’s dedication to both its clientele and the environment. “This marks a pivotal juncture in our mission to deliver clean, secure, and accessible mobility,” Tavares commented.


While the exact sum of Stellantis’ investment remains undisclosed, industry observers note that General Motors, another major player in the EV sector, maintains a close working relationship with Controlled Thermal. General Motors had previously inked an agreement to source lithium from CTR by 2024. The automaker, however, declined to comment on technical inquiries.


Stellantis has also strategically invested in the German DLE initiative, Vulcan Energy Resources. With the overarching ambition of electrifying half of its fleet by 2030, the collaboration of Stellantis with Controlled Thermal for lithium extraction is poised to significantly bolster its prospects for achieving this goal.


As the global race to secure lithium resources for batteries intensifies, industry giants like Stellantis are making substantial strides to meet anticipated demand. The injection of substantial capital into projects such as California’s Controlled Thermal Resources underscores the automotive industry’s unwavering commitment to driving the electric future forward.

Source: Reuters


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