Charged EVs | Oil wells might quickly be pumping lithium in Alberta


Everyone loves lithium, however mining it does have an environmental footprint. Everyone (round right here) hates oil, which has a a lot greater footprint. However what if I informed you that there’s a option to extract lithium from present oil wells, and that it’s not solely greener than different lithium extraction strategies, however might even clear up a few of the injury from the oil drilling? How a lot would you pay?

Properly, petroleum producer Imperial Oil was prepared to fork over $6.35 million—that’s how a lot the corporate lately invested in E3 Lithium, a Calgary-based firm that has developed a expertise to extract the naturally occurring lithium from oilfield brines.

Oil manufacturing is a water-intensive course of—as petroleum is drilled out of a effectively, it’s changed by a saltwater brine that finally ends up as wastewater. In some instances, extracting a gallon of oil includes pumping 4 to 5 gallons of brine. The brine accommodates lower than 1 p.c petroleum, however might have a focus of lithium carbonate as excessive as 95 p.c.

Many of the world’s lithium provide presently comes from exhausting rock and brine deposits; nonetheless, as Oil & Fuel 360 studies, current advances in extraction expertise might make it economically possible to provide so-called petrolithium from oil and gasoline drill holes, utilizing a course of with a low carbon footprint and very low contemporary water use.

The lithium firm E3 has spent years creating its expertise, and has efficiently examined it at two wells.

“That is an ion-exchange course of that’s used to extract low focus of lithium out of the brine, which is popping out of the Leduc formation,” E3 Lithium VP of Useful resource Improvement Peter Ratzlaff informed International Information. “That is our personal supply of lithium right here in Canada. We don’t [need to] depend on locations like South America, Australia or China for these supplies.”

Alberta’s economic system relies upon closely on oil and gasoline, and there’s loads of curiosity in new industries that would present jobs and repurpose present infrastructure. Robin Boschman, E3’s Director of Exterior Relations, believes his firm’s expertise generally is a good complement to the oil and gasoline trade. “We’ll be capable to reuse and repurpose a number of the oil and gasoline infrastructure,” he informed International Information. “And once we get to business operations, we anticipate creating a number of long-term secure jobs in a brand new economic system for Alberta.”

“It is going to imply some upscaling to develop new expertise and to know new strategies, however it’s one thing that could be very transferable from the oil and gasoline trade,” agrees Power Futures Lab Director Juli Rohl.

One other firm creating petrolithium expertise is Worldwide Battery Metals, which is working with IMPACT Know-how Improvement to develop a cell lithium extraction unit designed to be rapidly deployed and assembled on the website of petrolithium brine wells.

Sources: International Information, Oil & Fuel 360, GLJ


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