Located at the heart of the European auto and lithium-ion battery industry, listed on the Australian stock exchange, Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) is working to bring ‘zero-carbon’ lithium to Europe’s electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.
Vulcan is on track to develop Europe’s — and the world’s — first zero-carbon lithium project while generating a renewable energy by-product. It has the largest lithium project in Europe, located in the Upper Rhine Valley of Germany.
There is an unprecedented ramping up of lithium-ion and associated cathode production in Europe.
With demand from the EU for battery-quality lithium hydroxide forecast to equal the entire current global demand by the early 2020s, Vulcan has picked an opportune time to try to transform the EV market.
Vulcan has pointed to forecasts showing that the EU is set to require the equivalent of the entire current global battery quality lithium demand by the mid-2020s, with 2023 being the main inflection point.
There is currently zero EU production of battery-quality lithium hydroxide, let alone a CO2-neutral product.
european battery production and lithium demand
Consequently, a severe battery-quality lithium chemical supply shortfall is developing in the EU, creating ideal conditions for Vulcan.
The company recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfalzwerke geofuture, part of the German utility and international energy provider Pfalzwerke Group.
The MoU constitutes an initial collaboration period, during which Pfalzwerke geofuture will supply live brine and well data from its operational geothermal power plant for Vulcan to use in its prefeasibility study.
The MoU is an endorsement of Vulcan’s progress in terms of moving to a zero-carbon lithium producer.
Highlighting the significance of this development in terms of accelerating Vulcan’s aim of bringing a zero-carbon lithium hydroxide product to market, managing director Francis Wedin said, “Partnering with the Pfalzwerke group, a well-respected German utility, is a transformational step for the company.
’’It brings our goal of producing a zero-carbon lithium hydroxide product in Germany much closer to becoming a reality.”
‘’It brings our goal of producing a zero-carbon lithium hydroxide product in Germany much closer to becoming a reality.
‘’We now have access to a lithium-rich producing geothermal brine operation, so that feasibility studies and potentially first lithium production can be achieved in a much shorter timescale without the immediate need to drill our own geothermal wells.’’
Pfalzwerke geofuture is the owner-operator of the Insheim geothermal plant, which has been operating successfully for seven years. The plant will provide Vulcan with predictability of supply.
Pfalzwerke has established itself as a German and international energy provider with annual revenue in excess of €1.5bn. Its subsidiaries and partners also offer solutions for all aspects of electricity and heating.
Importantly for Vulcan, Pfalzwerke is increasing its share of renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic, biomass, geothermal and wind power.
With approximately 430,000 private and 20,000 business customers, as well as power supplies to 60 municipalities, Pfalzwerke Gruppe is one of the most important energy supply companies in Germany.
This is crucial for Vulcan because it should provide a ready end-market for the group’s product.
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