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US Cranks Up Lithium Production For EV Batteries

Lithium, an important element in the cleantech revolution, isn’t at critical supply risk, unlike several rare earth elements – dysprosium, europium, terbium and others.

But looking beyond 2015 that could begin to shift, the U.S. Department of Energy believes. And all things considered, the Obama administration would like to have plenty of the material home grown, feeding what it hopes will be a burgeoning electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid market and their batteries that use lithium.

Thus, the administration’s investment – with $28.4 million from the Recovery Act – in growing two Rockwood Lithium operations, at its headquarters in Kings Mountain, N.C., and in Silver Peak, Nev., where it produces lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide from brines.

Last week, the DOE hailed the completion of the North Carolina expansion.

“With support from the Energy Department, this project will make America more competitive in a range of new technologies and will help ensure the United States leads once again in manufacturing the next generation of clean energy and advanced vehicle technologies,” DOE Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.

So what’s the big deal with lithium?
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