Scientists at the KIT Energy Center at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology say there is enough lithium dissolved in the groundwater extracted by German geothermal heating and electricity installations to meet the needs of most if not all of the battery manufacturers in the country. “As far as we know, there can be up to 200 milligrams per liter,” says geoscientist Dr. Jens Grimmer of the Institute of Applied Geosciences at KIT. “If we consistently use this potential, we could cover a considerable part of the demand in Germany.”
The implications are enormous. Today, Germany has a number of battery factories in operation or under construction to supply the needs of its domestic auto industry. BASF announced last year it was building a new factory in Brandenburg, not far from the new Tesla factory. CATL is constructing its first European factory in Erfurt. Concerned about Asian companies dominating the supply of batteries for its automakers, Germany has earmarked €2 billion to encourage German companies to build battery factories in the country. A local source of lithium would provide a big boost to those plans.
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