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Schlumberger partners with Panasonic on new battery-grade lithium production process

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(Kitco News) - Schlumberger New Energy and Panasonic Energy of North America announced today that they have entered into a collaboration agreement for the validation and optimization of the innovative and sustainable lithium extraction and production process to be used by Schlumberger New Energy at its Neolith Energy pilot plant in Nevada.

According to the statement, this collaboration paves the way for improved lithium production solutions that will help meet the expected surge in demand for lithium as the electric vehicle (EV) market takes off worldwide.

Neolith Energy's sustainable approach uses a differentiated direct lithium extraction (DLE) process to produce high-purity, battery-grade lithium material while reducing the production time from over a year to weeks.

Schlumberger said that the unique process is in "sharp contrast" to conventional evaporative methods of extracting lithium, with a significantly reduced groundwater and physical footprint. Panasonic will provide their guidance to validate and optimize the lithium material for battery-grade consumption.

Situated in Clayton Valley, Nevada, the pilot plant is just 200 miles from Panasonic's large-scale advanced battery manufacturing operation, Panasonic Energy of North America, in Sparks, Nevada.

Neolith Energy's objective will be to pump brine from the subsurface, extract greater than 90% of the dissolved lithium, and pump more than 85% of the brine back to the subsurface in an environmentally safe manner. In addition to maximizing the reinjection of the brine, the ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for any fresh water from an external source and reduce the environmental impact.

Panasonic and Schlumberger New Energy said that together, the companies aim to accelerate the development and implementation of an innovative lithium production process, with a commitment to economical, environmental and responsible extraction to empower the world's transition to new energy sources.

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