A Crucial Resource in the Electric Era

Lithium is a key material in the electrification of transportation, and the demand for this important resource is soaring as the adoption of clean energy solutions accelerates across society. More electric vehicles on roadways means more batteries are needed to power them – and those batteries need lithium.   

Today, no other element can offer comparable properties for electric transportation. Lithium has the highest electrochemical potential, stores the most energy for its given weight, and is considered an unrivalled charge carrier.1 While lithium has also been called “the irreplaceable element of the electric era2,” it also has a variety of valuable uses in other industries for many products we depend on today – from lubricants and greases to cell phones and pharmaceuticals. 

At Piedmont Lithium, our goal is to become a leading North American producer of lithium hydroxide or battery grade lithium. We aim to help supply the American electric vehicle supply chain and U.S. energy security, and our proposed Tennessee Lithium project is a key part of our strategy to help meet this critical need.  

1 University of Washington Clean Energy Institute, Lithium-Ion Battery – Clean Energy Institute (washington.edu)
Volkswagen. 2019. Lithium: The Irreplaceable Element of the Electric Era.

What is lithium hydroxide?

Lithium hydroxide or battery grade lithium is a non-hazardous, non-flammable salt that resembles table salt or sugar. 

Lithium hydroxide is one of two forms of lithium that can be used in electric vehicle batteries. Lithium carbonate is the other alternative. However, lithium hydroxide is preferred by many electric vehicle manufacturers because of its capability to increase battery performance, allowing for a longer range before needing to be recharged.

Lithium Hydroxide Production in Tennessee 

We are designing Tennessee Lithium as a world-class lithium hydroxide production facility and one of the most sustainable operations of its kind in the world.  

Piedmont Lithium is a hard rock lithium producer, which involves creating battery grade lithium from a concentrated rock that contains lithium-bearing spodumene ore. We have an offtake agreement with the Ewoyaa Lithium Project in Ghana, West Africa, where our partners plan to mine for spodumene ore and crush and filter the ore to produce spodumene concentrate. 

Resources from the Ewoyaa project are expected to feed our Tennessee Lithium operation, where we plan to convert the spodumene concentrate to lithium hydroxide with an innovative process that uses primarily steam and pressure. Our final product will be battery-grade lithium, a salt-like, non-flammable, non-hazardous compound, for U.S. EV and battery manufacturers.  

image of lithium hydroxide (which looks like table salt) and Piedmont Lithium's logo

What is the demand for lithium hydroxide?

graphic chart showing US lithium hydroxide supply and demand
By the end of the decade, the global demand for lithium hydroxide could outstrip supply by some 300,000 metric tons, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. 

Today, lithium demand is soaring, but not enough lithium hydroxide is being produced in the U.S. or globally to support projected demand.  

Currently, the U.S. only has the capacity to produce 20,000 metric tons¹ per year of lithium hydroxide, while China manufactures approximately 80% of the world’s supply. With nearly $90 billion² in commitments to expand U.S. battery manufacturing, the nation’s electric vehicle industry will require approximately 780,000 metric tons² of lithium hydroxide annually in the future.   

We plan to support this critical supply need by domestically producing 30,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide, significantly increasing the current domestic production capacity with lithium resources developed right here, in Tennessee.  

¹ Benchmark Mineral Intelligence 
Based on published company announcements as of March 2024