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California Company To Produce Key Component Of Electric Car Batteries

Audio

Aired 10/3/11

Battery Production

Simbol Materials recently started commercial production of high purity lithium carbonate, used in lithium ion batteries, at a plant in the Imperial Valley town of Brawley.

There are only two other facilities like it in the world, both of them in Asia.

The initial plant will be able to produce 500 tons of high purity lithium carbonate per year. According to a calculation by Shirley Meng, a faculty member of U.C. San Diego’s Jacob School of Engineering, that's enough to power about 20,000 to 30,000 electric cars.

At first, the company will buy technical grade lithium carbonate on the market and purify it at its Brawley plant. But it soon hopes to harvest its own lithium from geothermal brines found near the Salton Sea.

If the electric vehicle market takes off, the Imperial Valley — home to the nation's highest unemployment rate — could reap the benefits.

Meng said that from a technical standpoint, electric cars are well on their way to becoming commonplace.

“I’m very confident that electric vehicles will be part of our future,” she said.

Comments

Avatar for user 'jplowry'

jplowry | October 1, 2011 at 6:54 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Isn't this technology from old Limtech facility that was located in Quebec? The writer is misinformed. There are more than two producers and more than one process for making so called "high purity" carbonate. Battery Grade and High Purity are not standardized, technical terms, they are marketing terms.

Like most things written these days about the lithium industry, most is only partially factual.

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