Stellantis invests more than $100 million in California lithium project – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – August 17, 2023)

(Reuters) – Automaker Stellantis said it would invest more than $100 million in California’s Controlled Thermal Resources, its latest bet on the direct lithium extraction (DLE) sector amid the global hunt for new sources of the electric vehicle battery metal.

The investment by the Chrysler and Jeep parent announced on Thursday comes as the green energy transition and U.S. Inflation Reduction Act have fueled concerns that supplies of lithium and other materials may fall short of strong demand forecasts.

DLE technologies vary, but each aims to mechanically filter lithium from salty brine deposits and thus avoid the need for open pit mines or large evaporation ponds, the two most common but environmentally challenging ways to extract the battery metal.

Stellantis, which has said half of its fleet will be electric by 2030, also agreed to nearly triple the amount of lithium it will buy from Controlled Thermal, boosting a previous order to 65,000 metric tons annually for at least 10 years, starting in 2027.

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