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Electric cars: Lithium is to be promoted by geothermal energy in Germany

There are geothermal power plants in Germany that use the heat from the Upper Rhine Rift. Lithium is to be filtered from the extracted deep water. This can be used for battery production.

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According to a report in the Welt am Sonntag, the import of the important rechargeable battery raw material lithium could be greatly reduced if it were extracted from domestic sources. According to the report, several companies are planning to produce lithium in Germany. The mineral is to be filtered in combination with existing geothermal power plants from the deep water of the Upper Rhine Trench.

Several companies want to build demonstration plants

For example, the energy company EnBW is said to have one Geothermal plant in Bruchsal north of Karlsruhe with an extraction plant for lithium chloride. In the laboratory, it worked quite well, project manager Thomas Kölbel told the newspaper. Now a demonstration plant is to be built.

Such a plant is also to be planned by Vulcan Energy in cooperation with the energy company Pfalzwerke. The Insheim geothermal power plant is to be expanded accordingly in 2020. There Vulcan wants to test how well lithium hydroxide can be filtered out of the thermal water. If successful, a larger demonstration plant is to come in 2021, which should already work in the ton range. According to Vulcan, 2022 could already be followed by a commercial plant that delivers 2,000 tons of lithium hydroxide annually.

Depending on the location, there are around 200 to 400 milligrams of lithium per liter in the deep water of the Upper Rhine Trench.

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