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Critical metals and rare earths
Our solutions

In 2025, the lithium-ion battery market will account for more than half of the global demand for lithium, compared to almost one third today; and the total global market itself will have almost doubled in size.


Lithium production

The Centenario-Ratones deposit, located in Salta province, in north-west Argentina, contains very significant resources, heralding the possibility of large-scale industrial production at the site.
 

« In partnership with Eramet, we developed an innovative, competitive and environmentally-friendly lithium extraction process, adapted to the waters of the Argentinian salt flats.

We contributed our process, characterization and materials synthesis expertise to the project and developed a sieve enabling the selective capture of lithium. It was validated in July 2018 in conditions representative of the process. In 2019, the pilot, tested at Eramet’s Trappes site for six months, will be transferred to a site at an altitude of 4,000 meters, near the group’s concession in Argentina. The lithium produced from 2021 will meet the needs of the battery market for:

  • electric vehicles,
  • mobile devices,
  • the manufacture of glass and ceramics,
  • the pharmaceutical industry.
     
Salar de Centenario


We intend to pursue our partnership with Eramet within the context of the European Eugeli project, which will be launched at the start of 2019. The objective: adapt the sieve in order to capture lithium from the geothermal waters of the Rhine basin. The process and the sieve will be tested at the pilot geothermal power plant in Alsace. »

Vincent Lecocq

Vincent Lecocq, Project manager, IFPEN


Electrification of the global car fleet and criticality of lithium out to the year 2050 study

Working in partnership with ADEME, IFPEN conducted a prospective study focusing on the dynamics of lithium supply and demand based on various scenarios relating to the electrification of the global vehicle fleet out to the year 2050.
 

«In this study, we:

  • set out the challenges concerning the criticality of the lithium market,
  • trace the history of this market and analyze the recent restructuring process that has taken place to address demand in the mobility sector,
  • propose a prospective model of the market out to the year 2050.
     

Our study concludes that, in the long term, while the risk in terms of the availability of lithium from a geological point of view remains limited, supplies are likely to be exposed to a variety of other risks:

  • economic,
  • industrial,
  • geopolitical,
  • environmental.»
     

Emmanuel Hache, Engineer in economics, IFPEN


Consult the Étude économique, énergétique et environnementale pour les technologies du transport routier français (E4T) study report, from which the lithium criticality study stems.
 

Contacts

Fabrice Bertoncini

  • Program manager: "Conversion of residues and heavy crudes", "Middle distillate production and purification", "Gasoline production and purification", and "New technological markets"

Jérôme Sabathier

  • Head Economics & Environmental Evaluation Department