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Lithium

ExxonMobil has a long history of developing innovative products for the auto industry – from fuels to lubes to advanced plastics. Now we’re adding a new one: lithium.

What is lithium? It's a key component of electric vehicle batteries. To meet projected growth in EVs, the world will need a lot more lithium. ExxonMobil plans to become a leading supplier of lithium, using a modern process that has significantly less environmental impact than traditional mining. 

We also have a deep connection to battery technology: Our own Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham led the research that resulted in the world’s first lithium-ion battery. In 2019, he won a Nobel Prize for his work. Read about the battery that changed the world.

Lithium is the latest example of how we’re helping automakers meet the world’s evolving transportation needs while also working to reduce emissions.

Making History: Lithium and a Nobel Laureate

We don’t often get to meet our heroes in person, but our very own Patrick Howarth did. 

Patrick leads our new lithium business – and he recently met Dr. Stanley Whittingham, whose groundbreaking research in an ExxonMobil lab in the 1970s earned him a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. That research also paved the way for the lithium-ion batteries that power today’s electric vehicles and portable electronics. 

Watch the video

Arkansas, United States

Southwest Arkansas has a long history as an oil and gas producer. But deep underground is another valuable resource: saltwater brine, rich in lithium. We can safely produce this lithium using many of the skills we’ve honed over decades, including geoscience, reservoir engineering and chemical processing. 

Our lithium will strengthen supply security for the companies investing in EV and battery manufacturing facilities in North America. 

The product will be branded as MobilTM Lithium, building on the rich history of deep technical partnership between Mobil and the automotive industry.

    Why it matters

Critical shift

EVs can play a key role in reducing emissions in transportation, which today accounts for nearly one-quarter of global energy-related CO2 emissions. 

In demand

EVs rely on lithium for their rechargeable batteries. Lithium demand is expected to quadruple by 2030.

New supply source

Today, most of the world’s lithium is produced in Western Australia, South America and China. We plan to produce lithium in North America.

Competitive edge

We’ll tap lithium-rich brines deep underground, using processes similar to those we use in our existing production and refining businesses.

A three-step process

  1. We’ll extract lithium-rich brine from rock formations deep underground (~10,000 feet). Brine is salty water unsuitable for drinking or agriculture.
  2. Above ground, we’ll use a process called Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) to extract lithium from the brine quickly and efficiently.
  3. We’ll pump the leftover brine back underground, into the same reservoirs it came from.

This safe process is similar to many of the technologies we use today in our existing businesses.

Our lithium impact

90%

When using electricity from a renewable source, EVs can reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by nearly 90% vs. conventional vehicles.

2/3 less

Our lithium is expected to have ~2/3 less carbon intensity than hard-rock mining.

1 million

By 2030, we aim to produce enough lithium to supply the manufacturing needs of about 1 million EVs a year.

Low Carbon Solutions

Low Carbon Solutions is helping to lower emissions by providing solutions to our industrial and commercial customers in growing markets for carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and lower emission fuels.

What we do

Delivering industrial solutions

Delivering
industrial solutions

We're helping accelerate society's path to net zero by scaling up emissions solutions for key industries

Delivering industrial solutions Topic

Working to meet energy supply and demand

Working to meet energy supply and demand

ExxonMobil is committed to meeting society’s needs for products essential to modern life, providing reliable energy and investing in a lower-emission energy system for tomorrow

Operations Topic

Transforming transportation

Transforming transportation

Continuing to reduce emissions today and into the future

Lower-emission transportation Topic

*Statements of future events, plans, investments, or performance in this release are forward-looking statements. Actual future results, including project plans, timing, capacities, and costs could differ materially depending on a number of factors.