Funded by the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the partnership will help develop lithium’s application as a power source in numerous applications including electric cars and mobile phones.
Bolivia’s salt flats harbour an estimated 39 million tonnes of lithium reserve, positioning the country to be one of the world’s most important suppliers in the coming decades. The projects supports Bolivia’s ambition to provide 40 per cent of the world’s supply of lithium by 2030. According to Warwick, it will see Bolivia be at the forefront of lithium value chain, lead to higher paying employment and industry and a transition away from simple extraction and exploitation of raw materials.
Several master’s degree scholarships will also be offered to Bolivian students and the University’s Warwick Manufacturing Group will link up with Yacimentos de Lito Bolivianos, Bolivia’s lithium mining institution, in a multi-year research project to improve the understanding and possibilities for lithium battery technology.
David Rutley, Minister for the Americas and Caribbean at the FCDO said: “This is a landmark partnership between Bolivia and Warwick – one of our great UK universities.
“This collaboration will help unlock the possibilities of battery technology in a new era of clean energy. The partnership will also address the drawbacks associated with using fresh water in the extraction process – making the industry more sustainable and less environmentally damaging.”
Rutley continued: “This agreement demonstrates the potential for scientific and technological cooperation of our two great nations. It could help see Bolivia become the energy cell of the world.”
Professor Mike Shipman, Warwick University’s pro-vice- chancellor (International), added: “We are excited to be partnering with the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energies and Yacimentos de Litio Bolivanos. This collaboration will draw on the University’s extensive expertise in battery technologies and build new capabilities in Bolivia and help the global transition to sustainable power solutions through innovative research and training.”