In the context of the energy transition, a major challenge for Europe is to secure supplies of strategic metals. France recently announced an action plan on critical metals.
Among the resources concerned, lithium is a metal that is arousing strong interest, in particular for the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles, for which world demand is constantly increasing and for which the supply is today mainly provided by Latin America, Australia and China.
For the first time lithium has been produced from geothermal brine
The European project EuGeLi, coordinated by ERAMET and in which BRGM was a partner, aimed to lay the foundations for the establishment of a European lithium production chain that does not emit CO2.
The EuGeLi project ended in December 2021 with a successful achievement: the first kilograms of battery-grade lithium carbonate from European geothermal water were produced at the Soultz-sous-Forêts site (Bas-Rhin).
This was the first time ever. The next steps will be to optimise the economic model in order to assess whether it would be possible to set up a competitive lithium production scheme for batteries on an industrial scale, as a complement to renewable energy, all made in France and without producing CO2.