June 3, 2022

Automaker Reaches Deal to Buy Lithium From Major Producer Near Salton Sea

By Bob Marra

CTR’s geothermal production facility in Imperial County near the Salton Sea

Automaker Stellantis has reached a deal to have Controlled Thermal Resources Ltd. (CTR) supply battery-grade lithium hydroxide for its electric vehicle production in North America.

CTR will supply Stellantis, the company that combined PSA Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler, with up to 25,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide over the 10-year term of the agreement.

CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen Project in Imperial County will recover lithium from geothermal brines utilizing renewable energy and steam to produce battery-grade lithium products in an integrated, closed-loop process, eliminating the need for evaporation brine ponds, open-pit mines, and fossil-fueled processing.

Through its geothermal energy production process, CTR plans to produce in excess of 300,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate per year on a 7,000-acre Clean Energy Campus on the south side of the Salton Sea.

CTR has produced a spectacular video of the company’s concept for the campus that illustrates the process of creating lithium hydroxide as a byproduct of the geothermal energy production cycle.

“In the fight against global warming, bolstering our battery electric vehicle supply chain to support our bold electrification ambitions is absolutely critical,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “Ensuring we have a robust, competitive, and low-carbon lithium supply from various partners around the world will enable us to meet our aggressive electric vehicle production plans in a responsible manner.”

“This definitive offtake agreement with Stellantis sets a new benchmark for the automotive industry in the United States,” said Rod Colwell, CTR’s CEO. “Securing clean lithium produced with energy from a renewable resource helps to further decarbonize the battery supply chain which in turn, delivers cleaner cars with less environmental impact. We look forward to a strong and successful relationship with Stellantis.”

Last month the Biden administration announced $3.1 billion in funding to U.S. companies that make and recycle lithium-ion batteries. It’s part of the administration’s ongoing push to dramatically boost sales of electric vehicles.

The new program will offer grants to companies that process or recycle battery components. The grants are intended to help strengthen U.S. energy independence and support the Administration’s goal to have electric vehicles make up half of all vehicle sales in America by 2030.

Stellantis’ car brands include Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot and Ram.

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