DOE Funding Domestic Lithium Production
The United States was the world leader in producing lithium, a key ingredient for electric vehicles and rechargeable batteries for consumer electronics, in the early 1990s, but now the U.S. imports most of its supply from South America, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu recognized a North Carolina outfit on June 29 for increasing the U.S. lithium production and creating jobs in the process.
The company is Rockwood Lithium, which received a $28.4 million federal investment and has leveraged more than $46 million in additional private funding to expand its facilities in Silver Peak, Nev. and Kings Mountain, N.C. Those facilities have added 100 new jobs, as well, according to DOE.
Niketa Kumar of the DOE public affairs office reported the expansion also supports DOEs EV-Everywhere Challenge, an initiative to make electric vehicles more affordable.