Israeli company Asterra, a developer of algorithm-based technology for analysis of satellite pictures that facilitates discovery of water and minerals below the earth’s surface, has announced the filing of a patent on an advancement in its technology enabling it to locate lithium deposits.
The core technology on which Asterra’s solution is based uses an advanced algorithm and artificial intelligence to interpret SAR (synthetic aperture radar) data from satellites using a ground-penetrating frequency.
This technology was first used to search for underground water on Mars and other planets. Since 2015, Asterra’s technology has been used in over 70 countries.
The company decided to focus on lithium because of the shortage of the metal and the growing demand for it for use in batteries for electric vehicles, mobile telephones, and so on.
The company says that after examination of satellite signals to identify concentrations of lithium underground at various levels, and tests carried out on the ground by several companies that specialize in this field, the findings were confirmed, and the results are “of significant value and indicate a global breakthrough.”
China currently dominates lithium production, and it has holdings in lithium mines and reserves all around the world. The US recently declared lithium a strategic mineral and made independent production of it a priority in order to reduce dependence on other countries. 98% of lithium production currently takes place in Australia, Latin America, and China. Car makers Tesla and Ford have recently announced moves designed to give them direct access to the metal.
The International Energy Agency estimates that the world faces a lithium shortage in 2025, among other things because of an expected rapid switch from gasoline-fueled vehicles to electric vehicles. Global demand for lithium nearly tripled between 2019 and 2022, and the metal’s price is currently 350% higher than it was in August last year.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on August 17, 2022.
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