HomeWorldA lithium well is a 'gamechanger' for Alberta's energy transitionSEDI News

A lithium well is a ‘gamechanger’ for Alberta’s energy transitionSEDI News

In a province that has been drilling for generations and known for its oil and gas, this is a first.

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A rig in Alberta’s historic Leduc oilfield is not drilling for oil, but lithium.

In June, Imperial Oil Ltd. announced it had signed a deal to invest $6.35 million in E3 Lithium, a Calgary-based junior resource company that has developed a technology to extract naturally occurring lithium — a light metal that is a is the main ingredient. Batteries used in electric vehicles – from oilfield brines.

Alberta has one of Canada’s largest lithium resources, although there was little interest in developing a lithium industry until recently due to the growth of electric vehicles and the exponential increase in demand for lithium ion batteries.

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Alberta-based E3 Lithium has achieved 2 major milestones

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Peter Retzlaff, vice president of E3 Lithium Resource Development, is pleased with the project’s progress.

“This is our own source of lithium here in Canada. We do not rely on places like South America, Australia and China for these sources of content.

Click to play video: 'Alberta-based E3 Lithium hits 2 key milestones'

Alberta-based E3 Lithium has achieved 2 major milestones

Alberta-based E3 Lithium Hits 2 Major Milestones – June 24, 2022

This is a major milestone for the lithium company. After two successful wells, E3 is now pulling brine from the ground. It is then used to test the technology the company has spent years developing.

“This is an ion-exchange process used to extract low concentrations of lithium from the sea, which is coming out of the Leduc formation,” Ratzlaff said.

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From lithium to hydrogen: How Alberta hopes to power a new energy future

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When it comes to growing Alberta’s economy, new industries like lithium are getting a lot of attention. The company says it’s actually a perfect compliment to the oil and gas industry.

Robin Boschman, E3 Lithium director of external relations, said the turnover was a smooth transition.

“We will be able to reuse and repurpose a lot of oil and gas infrastructure. And when we reach commercial operations, we expect to create long-term stable jobs in the new economy in Alberta and Canada.”

Click to play video: 'From lithium to hydrogen: How Alberta hopes to power a new energy future'

From lithium to hydrogen: How Alberta hopes to power a new energy future

From lithium to hydrogen: How Alberta hopes to power the future of new energy – January 6, 2022

This is exactly the type of development organizations like the Energy Future Lab are helping to foster. To help and ensure that, as the world looks for new ways to power the economy, Alberta will be ready. Julie Rohl, director of the Energy Future Lab, believes it is.

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“It will mean some upscaling to develop new technologies and understand new technologies but that is something that is very transferable from the oil and gas industry.”

E3 also demonstrates the value of developing resources as close to home as possible.

“We know there are (are) growing concerns around the security of global supply chains at the moment,” Rohl said. “We’ve seen those kind of effects over the last few years so having both the resources and the processing technologies here in house is an absolute game changer.”

– Amanda Stephenson, with file from The Canadian Press

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