A highlight from California's 'White Gold' Rush: Lithium In Demand Amid Surge In Electric Vehicles


As demand for electric vehicles heats up. There's concern about a shortage of the key minerals needed to make them. The biden administration has called for boosting domestic production of such materials and that includes lithium used any ev batteries. That could mean big business for california's imperial valley benjamin perper of member station. Kabc our reports. A construction crew is moving dirt at the site of hell's kitchen lithium and power and kalpatri a california just a few miles away in this harsh desert landscape or the shores of the sultan seep. A man made lake which is full of geothermal. Brian that can be used to produce energy and extract lithium spread. The actions happening say is doing to talk about it and not enough action now. The actions happening. It's exciting times. That's rod well. Ceo of controlled thermal resources. The company building this plant on a windy plateau salton sea coa points out that the lake is receding which has exposed nearby communities to toxic dust. But it's also revealed some crucial resources. The say's bean reciting for up to about twenty to forty yards a month vain. Shallow lens dan but which is quite roenick as it's exposing some of the best known lithium geothermal resources on the planet right now. Most of the world's lithium comes from places like china australia and south american countries like chile and argentina. Most of the lithium they produce a steep environmental cost as it's done through mining or large. Evaporation ponds that. Take up. Lots of water but geothermal lithium on a percent grain absolutely absolutely from the stain that we produce to produce lithium will processing greenstein ingraham in the form of electricity as well pretty cool. And there's a lot of venture capital being put into this around the salton sea investors like bill gates and michael bloomberg are hoping for pay off as demand for lithium takes off. Mary us can't uc riverside says the main driver is electric vehicles. California has pledged to phase out gas powered vehicles this year. General motors said it aims to produce all electric vehicles by twenty thirty five. It's all part of such a strong global trend that can says lithium is now being called white gold. So you have so much rage victim source in the sultan. See and extraction of this definitely can turn this area to delete your valley if you like not as silicon valley but the lincoln valley sophie lou with bloomberg and he says that's an exciting concept but right now the united states gets most of its lithium from china and even with increased lithium extraction. The salton sea. That's not likely to change anytime soon. So at best most optimistically. Something might happen in this holton. Cnn economic scale after twenty twenty. Five twenty twenty six. Maybe even then liu says it probably won't be enough to revolutionize the global supply chain for lithium rod coil of controlled thermal resources acknowledges. It's a long shot. The company doesn't have an agreement to sell battery grade lithium yet but with president biden and others focusing more on new about energy. He says the stars are aligning. The timing of the market. You know and it's really code up to it so it's great the California governor been terrific the federal administration lining with california's perfectly like a perfect lego to fit script if his and other companies can get it. Right co well says the dream of lithium valley as an economic engine for the region and a source of renewable energy for the country could very well become a reality for npr news. I'm benjamin proper in patria this message comes from. Npr sponsor ford the all electric mustang mach e and a stock car race around a track. The stock car veers off toward a mobile pit crew harnessed to moving flatbed truck visit for dot com to see a heart racing. Mustang mach e receiving over the air update.

Coming up next