Work Begins on Europe’s First Lithium Hydroxide Plant for BEVs

While Germany seems to have rescued ICE technology in Europe, it is still forging ahead with BEV technology in the shape of a new lithium hydroxide conversion plant.

Ground was broken this week for the plant in Guben, the “Guben Converter”, which will be the first of its kind in Europe and a blueprint for the European Union’s strategic goals to secure 12 times the demand of lithium by 2030 and at the same time to process 40% of it regionally. The refining plant being built by Rock Tech hopes, in one facility, to process lithium-bearing hard rock into battery-grade lithium hydroxide for the cathode and battery industry. This is thought to be a significant accelerator for the BEV mobility transition and fundamental building block for automakers in the region.

The Guben Converter, a 125,750 square meter facility, is expected to begin commissioning in mid-2025 and will produce qualified battery-grade lithium hydroxide in 2026. It is the first of five converters that the Canadian-German Company intends to build in Europe and North America.

Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz, chief technology officer, development and procurement, said: “For Mercedes-Benz, the shift towards electric mobility also means a change in our supply chains. Three goals are central to us: sustainability, raw material security and localization of procurement. Today’s groundbreaking in Guben is therefore another milestone for Mercedes-Benz towards the sustainable production of state-of-the-art batteries. When it comes to our lithium supply here in Europe, Rock Tech will play a key role for Mercedes-Benz in the future.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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