Geothermal heat and energy company Geothermal Engineering today announced it is raising £600 million (USD$745 million), the proceeds of which will be used to expand production of carbon-free lithium, a byproduct of its geothermal projects, for use in the fast-growing market for electric vehicles. .
Lithium is a key input in most energy storage systems, and rapidly rising demand for the material from electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, alongside a slow increase in supply, pose the key challenges for the EV and battery industries. The lithium supply chain also faces sustainability challenges, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and material waste.
Founded in 2008, UK Geothermal Engineering develops geothermal heat and energy projects and is currently developing its flagship project at United Downs in Cornwall, which is expected to come online in 2024.
According to the company, recent tests have shown that the geothermal fluid in the deep wells already drilled at United Downs contains one of the highest concentrations of lithium found in any commercial geothermal lithium project in Europe, which can be extracted using geothermal energy without carbon emissions. fueling the extraction process, while also avoiding other sustainability issues endemic to lithium mining, including water evaporation and carbon-intensive quarries.
The company said it aims to produce around 100 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) per year by the end of 2024, rising to more than 12,000 tonnes by 2030, which would be enough to produce an average of around 250,000 electric vehicle batteries . car size.
Geothermal Energy said it has engaged Nomura’s sustainable technology and infrastructure investment banking unit, Nomura Greentech, to raise funds to support its expansion.
Ryan Law, CEO of Geothermal Engineering, said:
“We are extremely excited about the high concentration of lithium we have found in our geothermal resources in Cornwall, as it will allow us to produce meaningful amounts of lithium without damaging the environment. Our ability to produce both carbon-free lithium and carbon-free baseload energy will provide a foundation for a truly sustainable electric car market in Britain.”