U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Advanced Manufacturing Office – Industrial Distributed Energy

A Material Change: Bringing Lithium Production Back to America

July 5, 2012

Between 1980 and 2009, the global demand for lithium has tripled. This metal is a key material in a number of growing industries, including advanced vehicle batteries and consumer electronics. But more specifically, lithium-ion batteries are a vital component in electric vehicles and other rechargeable batteries for consumer electronics and are used to produce the plug-in electric vehicles on the market today. These batteries also have a major impact on energy storage infrastructure and are helping integrate renewable energy sources into the electricity grid.

After leading the world in lithium production in the early 1990s, America now imports the majority of its lithium materials and compounds from South America.

The Energy Department is hoping to bring lithium production leadership back to the United States with a $28.4 million federal investment in the communities of Silver Peak, Nevada, and Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Read the complete story in the Energy Blog.