Researchers make surprise discovery about byproducts from drill sites — and the impact could be huge

Researchers make surprise discovery about byproducts from drill sites — and the impact could be huge This breakthrough means we may be able to get the lithium we need without digging new mines or creating more waste.

Did you know that waste from old mining sites could be a surprise source of lithium, an essential ingredient in the batteries that power our smartphones, laptops, and electric cars?

A new study suggests that a common mineral found in mining debris, pyrite or "fool's gold," could help unlock this valuable resource, according to Interesting Engineering.

As the world shifts to cleaner energy, the demand for lithium has skyrocketed. But mining this metal can be costly and damaging to the environment.

That's why scientists are excited about the potential to recover lithium from materials we already have on hand, like the leftovers from mining.

Researchers from West Virginia University made this game-changing discovery while analyzing shale samples from the Appalachian Basin. They found that even in rocks with lower amounts of lithium, more than half of the lithium could be extracted from the pyrite alone. The more pyrite in the sample, the more lithium they could recover, all per Interesting Engineering.

This breakthrough means we may be able to get more of the lithium we need without digging new mines or creating more waste. By recycling materials from old industrial sites, we can find new sources of this green energy building block while cleaning up some of the messes we've left behind.

"We can talk about sustainable energy without using a lot of energy resources," said researcher Shailee Bhattacharya in a news release.

Lithium isn't just powering our devices — it's key to making the rechargeable batteries that will help us transition to renewable energy and electric transportation. This switch can cut the pollution overheating our planet and threatening our health.

Innovations like this fool's gold find bring us one step closer to a future where we can keep our air and water clean while still enjoying all the perks of our plugged-in lives. As we continue to find smarter ways to dig up the resources we need, we're not just striking gold — we're striking "green."

While it will take time to see if this lithium recovery method can work on a large scale, it's an exciting glimmer of what's possible when we think creatively about our energy needs.

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Researchers make surprise discovery about byproducts from drill sites — and the impact could be huge first appeared on The Cool Down.

  • https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/researchers-make-surprise-discovery-about-byproducts-from-drill-sites-and-the-impact-could-be-huge/ar-BB1nWVV8

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