Lithium is a vital component for Tesla and other electric vehicle (EV) batteries. With the rapid growth of EV’s around the world, demand for the metal is also increasing at record levels, with the market for lithium expected to reach $100 billion in the next 10 years.
Getting the metal out of the ground for EV batteries can be costly both in terms of money and environmental cost (but still better than a producing a gas car). But there are some Canadian companies that are looking to develop extraction methods that are cheaper and better for the environment by using existing oil and gas infrastructure.
Summit Nanotech is one of those companies, and the president Amanda Hall says her company uses nanotechnology to selectively filter lithium out of wasted saltwater brine that is currently used in oil wells.
Halls hope to be able to test their technology later this year at a current oil field site, with the eventual goal os setting up units near well heads to process lithium, and then sell it to the land’s mineral rights owner.
According to the Canadian Lithium Association, Alberta has about 3.6 million tonnes of Lithium located throughout the province. With Tesla leading the way in EV production and sales, and demand only increasing, Alberta’s oil and gas sector could have a second life in being able to provide mass amounts of Lithium for the growing global demand.