Vulcan is on track to develop Europe’s — and the world’s — first Zero Carbon lithium project
Located at the heart of the European auto and lithium-ion battery industry, dual ASX and Frankfurt listed Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL| FRA:6KO) is working to bring “Zero Carbon™” lithium to Europe’s electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.
Vulcan is on track to produce the first ever Zero Carbon lithiumat its Vulcan Zero Carbon LithiumTM Project in the Upper Rhine Valley of South-West Germany, while generating a renewable energy by-product. The company has Europe’s largest lithium resource and access to a lithium-rich producing geothermal brine operation.
This comes amidst an unprecedented ramp up of lithium-ion and associated cathode production in Europe.
With demand for battery-quality lithium hydroxide from the European Union (EU) forecast to equal the entire current global demand by the early 2020s, Vulcan has picked an opportune time to transform the EV market.
Yet there is currently zero production of battery-quality lithium hydroxide in the European Union, let alone a CO2-neutral product. Consequently, a severe battery-quality lithium chemical supply shortfall is developing in the EU, creating a huge opportunity for Vulcan.
This situation in Europe is not unlike what China experienced in the 2010s, where demand for lithium-ion battery production for electric vehicles caused a lithium supply shortage and a 300% spike in the lithium price.
The same is forecast to happen in Europe over the coming decade, albeit on a much larger scale — Europe is forecast to dwarf China’s growth in demand for lithium hydroxide as part of the region’s booming cathode to electric vehicle industries.
Europe’s largest Lithium Resource
Vulcan is now the largest JORC-compliant Lithium Resource in Europe by a considerable margin as well as being a globally significant lithium brine resource.
The company recently completed the maiden JORC (2012) Mineral Resource Estimate for its Ortenau licence within the Vulcan Zero Carbon LithiumTM Project.
The total Inferred Mineral Resource for the brine has been calculated at 13.2 Mt of contained Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE), at an average lithium brine grade of 181 mg/l Li.
Collaboration may deliver Zero Carbon LithiumTM sooner than expected
In an endorsement of Vulcan’s progress towards becoming the world’s first Zero Carbon LithiumTMproducer, the company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfalzwerke geofuture GmbH, part of the German utility and international energy provider Pfalzwerke Group.
The MoU constitutes an initial collaboration period, during which Pfalzwerke geofuture will supply live brine and well data from its operational the Insheim geothermal power plant for Vulcan to use in its prefeasibility study (PFS).
Highlighting the significance of this collaboration managing director Francis Wedin said, “Partnering with the Pfalzwerke group, a well-respected German utility, is a transformational step for the company.
‘’It brings our goal of producing a Zero Carbon LithiumTM hydroxide product in Germany much closer to becoming a reality.
‘’We now have access to a lithium-rich producing geothermal brine operation, so that feasibility studies and potentially first lithium production can be achieved in a much shorter timescale without the immediate need to drill our own geothermal wells.’’
Pfalzwerke geofuture has been successfully operating the Insheim geothermal plant for seven years and will provide Vulcan with predictability of lithium supply.
Pfalzwerke has established itself as a German and international energy provider with annual revenue in excess of €1.5 billion. With approximately 430,000 private and 20,000 business customers, as well as power supplies to 60 municipalities, Pfalzwerke Gruppe is one of the most important energy supply companies in Germany.
Importantly for Vulcan, Pfalzwerke is increasing its share of renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic, biomass, geothermal and wind power. This is crucial for Vulcan as it should provide a ready end-market for the group’s product.
Written by Jonathan Jackson.