Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: May 2, 2024
Inés Platini
By Inés Platini
Spain flag

The lithium project promising to meet the demand of 800,000 Tesla Model 3s arrives in Spain

This is Extremadura New Energies, which has been awarded more than 18 million euros from PERTE VEC II for the construction of a lithium hydroxide production plant, which it estimates will generate 33,000 tons annually. Below's a breakdown of the project.
Ramón Jiménez, Chief Executive Officer of Extremadura New Energies.

The second call for Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE) for the development of Electric and Connected Vehicles (VEC), focused on reindustrialization and the electrification of production facilities, involves mobilizing an investment of 6 billion euros.

In the production line of fundamental raw materials, Extremadura New Energies (ENE) has been awarded 18.82 million euros, out of a maximum of 25 million euros.

This project represents the second largest hard rock deposit in Europe, with which it is estimated to produce 33,000 tons of lithium hydroxide annually.

“We consider that with the amount of lithium that we will extract, 800,000 Tesla Model 3s could be manufactured per year,” details Ramón Jiménez, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), to Mobility Portal España.

It is an underground extraction and first transformation initiative for lithium, which has no impact on the surface, except for the “entry portal” necessary to access the excavation.

Additionally, in the production process, no fossil fuels are used, as the machinery employed will be electric.

We have patented and designed a new production system in which we use autoclaves, in which, through pressure and temperature, we obtain the same effect as we would achieve in roasting ovens, thereby eliminating gas as well,” indicates the representative.

The water used will come from the wastewater treatment plant of Cáceres, the city where the plant will be located.

In this way, the entire process is extremely ecological, since, in addition, its by-products, such as synthetic gypsum, will have an outlet in the secondary market of the circular economy.

This project is considered the greenest in Europe at the moment in the mining industry and regarding lithium,” assures Jiménez.

This has been one of the determining factors for obtaining the aid granted by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, within the framework of the European Next Generation funds of the Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan.

As well as due to the fact that the investment represents a great boost for Extremadura, “one of the most disadvantaged regions of Spain,” and is expected to generate numerous direct jobs.

Prototype of the Extremadura New Energies plant.

What was the procedure for awarding the PERTE VEC?

As detailed by the CEO, the process involved completing a form detailing the technology to be used, which is not polluting, but sustainable and promotes the circular economy.

It was also necessary to specify the number of jobs to be generated, as well as the planned investment in R&D, among other aspects.

“All this allowed us to obtain the highest possible grant within our group,” he states.

From the announcement of the second call for aid to its final award, approximately six months elapsed.

What are the next steps?

Extremadura New Energies is awaiting authorization to submit the final project within the next few weeks.

Once evaluated by the technicians of the Autonomous Community, they will have to decide whether to approve it, depending on whether it meets the requirements mentioned in the form.

Ramón Jiménez alongside the project of the plant.

“We hope that by the end of this year or early next year, we will have all the permits and can start construction in the first quarter of 2025,” he anticipated.

The expected construction period is two years, so it is estimated that in the first quarter of 2027, the first tons of lithium hydroxide will be obtained for commercialization.

In total, the project represents an initial investment of 1.430 billion euros.

Therefore, ENE does not rule out participating in a new call for aid when they are launched, as long as the terms and requirements match the project.

It is estimated that more than 1,500 direct jobs will be created during the two-year construction period and 700 during the 26 years of plant operation.

It is worth noting that Extremadura New Energies has already established an agreement with the South Korean company LG EnergySolution in its battery cathode manufacturing division.

“We have an investment agreement for the purchase of part of that product,” concludes Jiménez.

Separator Single Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *