Given how China has become the dominant player in terms of the global electric vehicle (EV) and lithium production industries, other nations are scrambling to secure their slice of an increasingly lucrative sector by having their own sustainable supply of lithium available.
While some naysayers declare that China’s EV industry could make the German automotive sector irrelevant if not completely obsolete, a massive lithium processing facility owned and operated by domestic firm AMG Lithium is currently rising in the town of Bitterfeld-Wolfen in eastern Germany – and it may very well change the game.
According to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission (EC), the European Union (EU) is around 97% dependent on lithium imports sourced from China. She warned that overall demand for lithium and other rare-earth metals necessary for the production of EV batteries and those for mobile devices may become five times greater than current figures by the end of the decade.
In order to address these issues and decrease the EU’s dependence on foreign imports, EC officials are working to scale up existing green technologies via the Critical Raw Materials Act of 2023. In essence, this Act is in direct competition with the United State’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and is set to raise the targets for lithium extracted from the recycling of device batteries and other items containing lithium.
At the same time, AMG Lithium’s upcoming facility hopes to begin operating by the end of this year and its order roll will keep it working well into the next three years. According to its chief executive Stefan Scherer, the firm hopes to produce around 100,000 of the continent’s total annual demand of 500,000 by 2030. That’s about enough lithium to power the batteries of up to 2.5 million EVs.