The United States currently imports more than 80 percent of its lithium, a key component of batteries, electronics and even green technologies, but that could all change following a recent discovery by researchers at the University of Wyoming.
A team with UW's Carbon Management Institute found a vast new lithium resource near Rock Springs while involved in a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Director of the Carbon Management Institute, Ron Surdam, explains the significance of this new find.
Early analyses of fluid samples collected from a well drilled on the 2,000-sq. mile Rock Springs Uplift in southwest Wyoming suggests that just a 25-sq. mile area of the uplift could hold 228,000 tons of lithium. Surdam says that's enough to meet annual demand here in the U.S.
Currently, the largest domestic producer of lithium in the U.S. rests in reserves in Silver Peak, Nevada. And that reserve contains nearly 118,000 tons in a 20-sq. mile area. Surdam says in a best case scenario, the Rock Springs Uplift could contain 18 million tons of lithium - which matches nearly 720 years of current lithium production around the world.