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Pure lithium from Germany

EnBW and LevertonHELM cooperate for sustainable lithium production in Europe

Janneke Menzel

Janneke Menzel

Manager External Communication

Janneke.Menzel@helmag.com Business Card

Hamburg | Karlsruhe, June 21, 2024

LevertonHELM and EnBW have successfully produced lithium carbonate with a purity of >99.5 per cent. In the joint demonstration project, EnBW initially extracted a lithium chloride solution from the thermal water of the geothermal power plant in Bruchsal, Baden-Württemberg, using direct lithium extraction (DLE). LevertonHELM, a fully owned subsidiary of German HELM AG, converted and refined this solution at its facilities in Basingstoke, UK. Thanks to its high quality, the lithium salt obtained in this way can be used directly in the production of cathode materials for batteries.

Based on this success, EnBW and LevertonHELM have agreed now to continue their collaboration in close co-operation. The common goal is to further advance the sustainable production of battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide and to develop local resources for use in electromobility and energy storage.

Dr Thomas Kölbel, expert for research and development at the EnBW Group, says: "We need energy storage technologies for the energy transition to succeed. Lithium plays a decisive role in the expansion of electromobility and renewable energies. Together with LevertonHELM, we want to tap into this resource and create a sustainable source of lithium to meet the growing demand in Germany and Europe."

“Projects like this are essential for the development of European resources and establishing a local production footprint of critical raw materials that will support the European Union’s energy transition. The combination of EnBW’s experience in DLE and geothermal power generation and LevertonHELM’s lithium processing expertise is a strong asset to accelerate progress in this field”, says Bart Vanden Bossche, Commercial Director at LevertonHELM.

“This project is a great opportunity for HELM to further strengthen its presence and participation in the European lithium-ion battery supply chain. We are making significant efforts to further develop our lithium processing capabilities in order to actively contribute to decreasing Europe’s dependence on lithium import”, comments Stephen Elgueta Wallis, Vice President Energy Materials at HELM.

"The water that we extract at the Bruchsal geothermal power plant has a remarkably high lithium content. This opens up a great opportunity for us to extract lithium as a valuable by-product of these plants regionally using environmentally friendly methods," comments Laura Herrmann, Project Manager Research and Development at EnBW.

About EnBW
With a workforce of over 28,000 employees, EnBW is one of the largest energy supply companies in Germany and Europe. It supplies electricity, gas and water together with infrastructure and energy-related products and services to around 5.5 million customers. In the company’s transformation from a traditional energy provider to a sustainable infrastructure group, the expansion of renewable energy sources and of the distribution and transportation grids for electricity and gas are cornerstones of EnBW’s growth strategy and the focus of its investment spending. By 2030, EnBW plans gross investments of €40 billion, around 90% of which will be in Germany. EnBW aims for renewables to account for over half of its generation portfolio by as early as the end of 2025 and to phase out coal by the end of 2028. These are key milestones on the way to the company being carbon-neutral by 2035. www.enbw.com

HELM is a Hamburg, Germany, based family-owned company established in 1900. With up to 100 subsidiaries and participations in more than 30 countries, HELM is one of the largest independent chemical companies worldwide. HELM is committed to providing solutions that help its partners to tackle the reduction of CO2 emissions and the loss of biodiversity. Through its global presence, the company also strives to create positive impact in local societies around the world. HELM’s partnerships in Lithium, bio-based BDO, and digital tools supporting an efficient agriculture are recent examples, which support that goal. HELM is active in the chemicals and energy materials industry as well as agriculture and pharmaceuticals.