Tel Aviv, Israel, August 15, 2022 – Today, ASTERRA announced a patent filing on advancements in using PolSAR-based technology for lithium exploration that will greatly accelerate the identification of lithium (LI) deposits. The patent was based on extensive field testing for validation.
“The expansion to mining is a natural progression of our ability to use AI analytics to monitor soil moisture underground,” said Elly Perets, CEO of ASTERRA. “It also fulfils our mission to become humanity’s eyes to protect the environment.”
ASTERRA’s complex artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms extract the signal of lithium concentration underground from satellite based PolSAR data and can pinpoint locations containing high lithium. This technology creates a way to find lithium before investing in costly exploration with intensive labor, and where it may result in environmental destruction and civil conflicts.
In the United States, the Department of Energy published its National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries, which makes sourcing lithium inside the U.S. a priority through the year 2030 because this mineral is often unavailable to meet the needs of the manufacturing industry. Lithium is essential in the transportation, semiconductor, microchip, cell phone, and any industry where a battery is used. Last week, the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 was enacted, further bolstering these initiatives.
“Lithium is the wonder metal at the heart of the global desire to move to cleaner energy with reduced carbon emissions, but the demand exceeds the supply. This causes an almost 500 percent increase in lithium prices and harms the effort to stop global warming,” said Lauren Guy, the founder and chief technology officer of ASTERRA. “Global demand for lithium is insatiable, and the supply crisis is present and significant. ASTERRA can now focus the efforts of companies to mine the metal in a much more efficient and accurate way.”
In a report by energystoragenews.com, Bloomberg ranked China the top supplier of lithium ion batteries. Since China is the dominant source for the mineral, ongoing political conflicts cause supply chain disruptions which have a serious negative global impact. One industry impeded by this is the automotive industry.
On its website, Volkswagen notes, “Electric cars are significant contributors to climate protection – but the mining of lithium for the batteries is often criticized.” Nevertheless, one challenge the manufacturer faces is their critical need for the mineral. “An important growth driver is its use in the batteries of electric vehicles. However, lithium is also used in the batteries of laptops and cell phones, as well as in the glass and ceramics industry,” the site also states.
ASTERRA’s satellite based PolSAR technology is already proven as a solution to find underwater leaks in the water utility industry (winning the AWWA Innovation Award in 2021), and also provides soil moisture data to mining operations. Because it provides intelligence regardless of weather conditions, time of day, and penetrates the ground and obstructions including pavement, trees, and soil, it is an efficient solution for underground monitoring.
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