Oilfield services firm Schlumberger's New Energy division said on Thursday it would launch a lithium extraction plant in Nevada to cash in on the surging demand for the battery metal from electric vehicle makers and technology companies.
The division has invested more than $15-million in direct lithium extraction. It expects the development and operation of the pilot plant in Clayton Valley, Nevada, through its venture NeoLith Energy, to require similar investment.
Demand for battery-grade lithium is projected to grow exponentially, driven by growth in the electric vehicle market.
As a result, efficient lithium production has become an important topic for regions, industries, and technology companies, as well as battery and large automotive manufacturers.
Albemarle Corp, the world's largest lithium producer, said earlier this year it would double production at its facility in Silver Peak, Nevada, while the U.S. Bureau of Land Management gave final approval to Lithium Americas' Thacker Pass lithium mine in northern Nevada.
Commissioning of Schlumberger's New Energy facility will begin following receipt of all necessary permits and NeoLith Energy intends to begin operations before the end of 2021.