But most of the lithium used in the United States is imported, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Currently, lithium is mined by only one company in the United States from a brine operation in the Nevada desert, and USGS data show that more than 85 percent of the world's lithium reserves is in Bolivia, Chile and China.
Gaines' research found that the amount of lithium needed for some types of lithium-ion batteries could be cut in half if those batteries are effectively recycled.
"If we had a careful recycling program in the U.S., we could conceivably be self-sufficient," Gaines said. "The ideal would be to take the whole battery apart, clean up the material and recycle them back to battery-grade."
Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500