Nevada will soon play a major role in supplying lithium to Tesla
The vast desert landscape of Nevada will soon become home to more than just Tesla’s Gigafactory as the electric carmaker has signed an agreement with Vancouver-based Pure Energy Minerals to provide lithium to the battery factory.
The deal establishes a commitment for an annual purchase volume of product over a period of five years by Tesla and/or its authorized purchasers. The agreement also sets a predetermined price on the lithium to supply Tesla’s battery cell manufacturing process.
According to Fortune, the deal is somewhat unusual in the world of battery manufacturing as the majority of the world’s lithium comes from Australia, Argentina, Chile and eastern China.
• Related content: [INFOGRAPHIC] Everything You Need to Know about Lithium
“Tesla, a risk-taker and innovator under CEO Elon Musk, is experimenting with new ways to get materials for its batteries and potentially lower its costs. When Tesla chose Nevada for its Gigafactory last year, industry-watchers speculated that the state’s ample lithium supply was one of the attractions,” Fortune wrote.
The Nevada lithium project, which is located 200 miles from Tesla’s Gigafactory in Reno, is still in the early stages of development, with Pure Energy Mineral currently conducting a Preliminary Economic Assessment and Pre-Feasibility Study to confirm the technical feasibility and economic viability of the mine.
"This agreement with Tesla is a significant milestone that validates Pure Energy's lithium brine project and business development model, and is an important step in the development of the Project,” said Robert Mintak, Pure Energy CEO.
• Related content: Is cobalt the commodity of the future?
"Pure Energy is aligned with both Tesla's and the State of Nevada's development objectives, and we hope to positively contribute to Nevada's booming clean energy based economy."
Tesla is expected to sign a handful of lithium supply deals in the next few years as the company ramps up construction in order to be operating at full capacity by 2020.
Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.
ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production
ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.
The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.
The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).
The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.
The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.
ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.
ELYSIS technology at a glance:
- The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
- The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
- In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
- ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.
ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.
Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.
Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”
Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”