Battery raw material is obtained in the Upper Rhine Rift using geothermal energy
Vulcan Energy, the company that wants to win lithium for electric car batteries in the German Upper Rhine Graben, has now won Stellantis as a customer after Renault. The French group is now officially reporting this.
Vulcan Energy will then become Stellantis-Supply group in Europe with lithium hydroxide. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2026 and will comprise between 81,000 and 99,000 tons over the five-year term. The supply agreement is subject to the proviso that Vulcan can successfully commission its systems and supply lithium in battery quality.
Renault had already signed a supply agreement with Vulcan Energy in the summer. Similar delivery quantities were involved: 6,000 to 17,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalents were agreed annually with Renault over five years, for a total of 30,000 to 85,000 tons. Here, too, a start of delivery was agreed in 2026.
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With lithium from the Upper Rhine Rift, both car manufacturers are securing an important battery raw material from a European source. This ensures short transport routes, which means low costs and a small carbon footprint. In addition, the lithium from Vulcan is obtained in a particularly environmentally friendly manner.
Vulcan’s "Zero Carbon Lithium" project uses geothermal energy to produce the lithium. Brine at 165 degrees Celsius is pumped to the surface. The heat is used to produce electricity and to heat buildings. In addition, the lithium contained in the brine is exchanged for other ions by ion exchangers. The cooled brine is pumped back into the depths. In the following video, Formula 1 racing driver Nico Rosberg explains the process:
According to the video, 80 percent of today’s lithium comes from China. This creates 15 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of lithium. The Vulcan process should lead to significantly fewer CO2 emissions. Fossil fuels are not required and water consumption should also be low. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions by 300 to 700 kilograms when manufacturing a 50 kWh battery.
Vulcan plans to start producing lithium in 2024. Then 40,000 tons of lithium hydroxide will be produced annually, which, according to the Vulcan video above, is enough for a million e-cars. According to this, Stellantis could supply more than two million e-cars with lithium with the agreed 81,000 to 99,000 tons, i.e. 400,000 cars per year.
In 2030, Stellantis wants to generate more than 70 percent of its sales in Europe with low-emission vehicles – presumably that means electric cars and plug-in hybrids. The batteries are to be at least partially owned by the joint venture Automotive Cells Company (ACC) which Mercedes recently joined is and the factories are built in Kaiserslautern and Douvrin. Another European plant is to be built in Termoli, Italy (150 km east of Rome). Another joint venture was established with LG Energy Solution to supply batteries to the North American plants.
More about the electrical plans from Stellantis: Stellantis EV Day 2021: Opel will be purely electric in 2028
Alfa Romeo will become a purely electric car brand from 2027
DS 4 from 2024 only as an electric car – based on STLA Medium
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