Researchers Working on a Fingerprint for Raw Materials

by | 10. Jun 2024 - 15:00 | Technologies

Australian scientists use the chemical properties of critical materials to determine their origin.

The energy transition and electromobility constantly drive the demand for critical raw materials, from batteries to motors. To ensure that the origin of resources is sustainable, the focus is shifting to measures that promise transparency along the supply chain. For the battery metal lithium, this now appears to be within reach, as Nikkei Asia (paywall) reports. Scientists at the John de Laeter Centre de Curtin University in Western Australia are using the chemical properties of the material under investigation to trace the provenance. This makes it possible to determine which country and deposit a sample comes from. Prokopiy Vasilyev and his research team want to use the technology for other materials besides lithium in the future. Then it would even be possible to make statements about processing and refinement, they say.

Australia has been establishing itself as an alternative supplier of raw materials such as lithium and rare earths for some time. At the end of May, the country signed a raw materials agreement with the European Union. A few months earlier, Resources Minister Madeleine King had expressed skepticism about whether European companies would pay a premium for sustainably produced materials. Proof of the supply chain, which further reflects ESG criteria (i.e., environmental, social, and governance standards), could bring movement to this debate.

Photo: filrom via Canva

Starting Soon: Rawmaterials Newsletter

Subscribe now and stay up to date!

Subscribe Now!
Stay up to date with our brand new newsletter.
By subscribing, you agree that the data you enter will be transmitted to our e-mail tool rapidmail.