THE US may no longer be dependant on lithium imports for its electronics and batteries, after researchers from the University of Wyoming discovered a vast new lithium resource near Rock Springs.
The lithium was found during a geological carbon dioxide storage site characterisation project sponsored by the US Department of Energy.
The researchers analysed the brines contained in Wyoming’s Madison limestone and Weber/Tensleep sandstone on the Rock Springs Uplift and found the fluid from a 64.7 square kilometre area could contain 228,000t of lithium.
In a best-case scenario, the 5180 square mile Rock Springs Uplift could harbor up to 18 million tons of lithium, equivalent to about 720 years of current global lithium production.
Lithium is a key component of batteries and electronics, and has a wide range of energy storage applications in green technologies like wind, solar and smart grids. The US imports more than 80 percent of the lithium that it uses domestically.
According to the researchers, by leveraging the new lithium resource, the US could become an independent lithium producer, significantly cutting its imports.