Energy technology firm Schlumberger New Energy and Panasonic Energy of North America, a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, have entered into a collaboration agreement to mine lithium in the US.
The agreement covers the validation and optimisation of a lithium extraction and production process used by Schlumberger New Energy at its NeoLith Energy pilot plant in Nevada.
Panasonic will provide its guidance to validate and optimise the lithium material for battery-grade consumption.
NeoLith uses a differentiated direct lithium extraction (DLE) process to produce high-purity, battery-grade lithium material while reducing the production time to a few weeks.
The pilot plant is located 200 miles from Panasonic’s large-scale advanced battery manufacturing operation in Sparks, Nevada.
NeoLith’s objective will be to pump brine from the subsurface, extract more than 90% of the dissolved lithium, and pump more than 85% of the brine back to the subsurface in an environmentally safe manner.
In addition to maximising the reinjection of the brine, the ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for any fresh water from an external source and reduce the environmental impact.