Mass Lithium Supply Found In Pennsylvania

( – Scientists have identified a huge new source of lithium in Pennsylvania. This element has become increasingly important, as it’s a major component in rechargeable batteries. The problem is the US has to import most of what we use –- and China is a major supplier. That might be about to change.

Many of the modern electronic devices we use depend on lithium. Cell phones, laptops, and even electric cars are all powered by rechargeable batteries, and lithium is a vital component of these. Unfortunately, the US doesn’t have much in the way of natural lithium deposits, so American industries need to import supplies from abroad — and those supplies aren’t guaranteed. Several major producers are unstable South American states, and another is China.

However, on April 16, the scientific journal Nature reported a discovery that had now been picked up by the media. According to the journal, a natural gas field in Pennsylvania could contain huge quantities of the vital chemical. The lithium comes out of the field along with wastewater from the fracking process, so it wouldn’t even need to be mined; all that has to be done is collect the wastewater and extract the lithium from it.

Lead study author Justin Mackey of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says lithium from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale field could supply between 30% and 40% of the US’s annual lithium consumption.

If the chemical can be collected from the wastewater at a reasonable cost, it won’t just make the water easier to recycle. It will also be a major boost to US battery manufacturers, who won’t have to rely on the goodwill of foreign suppliers that might not have this country’s best interests at heart.

With the Biden administration still trying to force Americans to switch to electric cars, demand for lithium is only going to increase. Having a big new source of it in the US would do a lot to make our supply chains more secure.

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