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International 24. Jan 2022

PODCAST: Sustainability & You Episode 19 – Dr. Francis Wedin

Vulcan CEO Francis Wedin spoke with Josephine Bush on the Sustainability & You Podcast. Josephine is a non-executive director of Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd

We are sharing the transcript, with their permission.

Welcome to the Sustainability & You podcast. A series of interviews focusing on facts shared by passionate advocates who are part of the movement towards net zero.

I’m Josephine Bush and I’m the founder of the Sustainability & You Platform, and I’m Tilly Wickens, the leader of All Young Ambassadors Council. In this podcast series, our aim is to raise awareness, encourage collaboration, and join the dots between disciplines that will influence policy and decision making as we move to net zero.

We are aiming to bridge the gap between silos and generations, strengthening the lines of communication with a small, influential community of people who care and are passionate about how we create change.

In this podcast, we speak to Dr. Francis Wedin, Managing Director of Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd, an Australian listed entity. Vulcan is a generator of electricity from a geothermal source of brine located in the Upper Rhine Valley region of Germany. The brine is then taken to extract high grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate for the battery EV market. This extraction process for the lithium is in the feasibility stage of development, so a great example of future technologies and innovation in the race to zero.

This method of lithium extraction will be a first of its kind, a  zero carbon extraction process, providing a critical raw ingredient for the fast growing EV sector. Francis is the founder and leader of the business. Having taken it from ideation through to commercialisation of the process and product, he is a great example of a much needed, dynamic, forward thinking leader who is both passionate about the environment and focused on delivering value to Vulcan shareholders.

He talks about how he developed the business, what it means to be a net zero business, the role of the corporate in developing net zero strategies and engagement with communities, his approach to risk and opportunity development, as well as what it means to be an effective green leader for the future.

So welcome, Francis, to the first podcast of 2022. We are very lucky to have Francis Wedin with us, CEO of Vulcan Energy Resources, an Australian listed entity. I always think of Vulcan as very much a company of our green age developing solutions to the decarbonisation of our economy with the generation of renewable electricity through a geothermal brine resource and the production of a critical raw ingredient, lithium hydroxide monohydrate, for the EV market.

I know you are very proudly a zero carbon company Francis, but you also incorporate circular economy principles into your operations. Can you tell us about the evolution of the company and your role in leading it to where it is today?

Yeah, sure. Well, first of all, Josephine and Philip, thanks very much for having me on. Thanks for the invitation.

Vulcan was essentially designed from the ground up to be the world’s first zero carbon raw materials producer, and specifically the world’s first zero carbon lithium company. I’m a geologist by background and by training and I started my career in the traditional mining industry in gold and decided about eight or so years ago that gold was of no use to anyone and started the lithium company with the idea that there’s a severe supply shortage coming up in the lithium sector to service the amount of Electric Vehicles, the lithium-ion batteries for Electric Vehicles, to complete that transition to electric mobility.

I already had some form in the lithium space. Now that company did reasonably well, but what became apparent was through my time in that company was so called “hard rock lithium”, the lithium from traditional mining sources which produce a mineral concentrate which is in processed in China, was creating another environmental problem, which is a very poor carbon footprint on a per tonne basis for lithium hydroxide, for batteries. So Vulcan was really my attempt to fix that problem and it was really sort of a no compromise approach: let’s start with the goal, which is zero carbon, lithium – lithium with no net emissions effectively – and work backwards from there to try and work out a solution.

Lithium also comes from brine – salty fluids essentially – mostly from so called salars, salt lakes in South America. This evaporates a lot of water, so a lot of water is lost and it uses a lot of reagents. But lithium is also present in something called the geothermal brine: which is subsurface bodies of salty liquid, typically between two and five kilometers deep, depending on the location. These are sources of baseload renewable energy for heat and power worldwide, and sometimes, rarely, they’re also lithium rich.

So the idea was, can we use these geothermal brines both as a source of baseload renewable energy heat and also for lithium production, and use some of that energy to drive the lithium extraction and thus creating a zero fossil fuels, net zero carbon approach to production.

And that’s how it started, how it’s going basically today. We have over a billion Australian dollar market cap, and are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, soon to be on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, roughly 100 personnel in the company and we’re developing these two businesses: the renewable energy business and the lithium extraction business and aiming to get into production by 2024. So really trying to do something new; producing a product, a raw materials product for the first time with a zero carbon footprint.

Thank you for that, Francis. So you make it all sound very easy. So you’ve moved from this wonderful idea as to how to green our economy, to executing it real time now. And I just want to explore that a little bit further, because you always strike me as somebody who’s a visionary leader that operates with real purpose and is a very deep thinker about the role of the company and its ability to make a difference in society. I might say that sort of knowing you and hearing you speak previously. Can you say something about how you’ve taken this idea and brought it through to fruition, but also not just what you’ve done, the way that you’ve done it?

Sure. It’s been a really fascinating process, actually, because what we’ve had to do is bring together two worlds which typically have not interacted in the past; the worlds of geothermal energy developments and operation and the worlds of essentially lithium, lithium mining, if you like, even though we’re not mining in this case, and lithium processing and sort of more on the chemicals industry side. I think it’s really the first time that these two sort of worlds are coming together in this way.

We’ve had to build a bespoke team to be able to deal with the challenges of linking these processes together. From the beginning, because we started with this no compromise, zero carbon approach. It’s been really interesting because even when we were a very small startup company, we were able to attract some really high quality individuals into the company. We have scientists, engineers, chemists, geologists, geoscientists who are really at the top of their game in the industry. And that’s been a major part of our success.

We started with not a lot, but I think an idea and a goal which resonated with a lot of people and that sort of snowballed since then. Up until recently, we haven’t really needed to sort of actively recruit because a lot of good people have actually sort of volunteered to come to us. I think the quality of the team has been part of Vulcan’s success and I think that the quality of the team is sort of down to the message and the goal of the company from the beginning. You know, what we’re doing differently here is we’re not retrofitting some sort of process to an existing operation to sort of greenify it, we’re actually building something bespoke from the ground up. And I think that sort of really shines through with the company and the strategy and the people.

And it’s a lot of work that is required, isn’t it, to decarbonize our economy as we move forward. We talk about, you know, the development of new technologies, new ideas that help us along that road. But people struggle to find examples of, firstly, collaboration, multidisciplinary teams coming together from legacy oil and gas, as well as those that are prepared to risk take to, to develop new technologies. So, I can see that you’re operating really at the heart of all of all of that.

We talk about the just transition quite a lot. So, if we start with that and think about how you’ve brought together a multidisciplinary team and you’re collaborating in new and different ways, why do you think it’s such a challenge for others to follow suit when you have been able to so well?

I think simply put, it’s because we started with a clean slate. With legacy producers in the space, again, much like it’s more difficult for a legacy automotive manufacturer to sort of pivot into Electric Vehicles. And this is why Tesla, I’m not comparing Vulcan to Tesla, but this is why Tesla has ascended so rapidly and being able to move so quickly in the space. There’s no baggage, there’s no sunk capital into sort of existing infrastructure and assets and equipment. I think that’s been a major part.

Basically, we started off with finding the right process to do this, finding the right technology. We did a detailed search for technologies which were commercially proven to extract lithium from these geothermal brines. We used something called direct lithium extraction, which this particular type absorption method, this has been used on continental style brine, so the South American types, since the nineties. They involve heating up the brine, and handly, our brine becomes pre-heated. So instead of using gas as they do in these projects in South America, we can just use the geothermal energy.

It was a matter of choosing technologies which were already in commercial existence. And then basically once we found the right technology, it is about finding the right asset. We did a global search to find what was the best mix of lithium grades, geothermal heat, brine flow rate, also applying a geopolitical filter and distance to market as well. This is how we ended up in the Upper Rhine Valley in southwest Germany, where we have this unique resource, really right at the heart of the battery Electric Vehicle market in Europe, which is the fastest growing in the world.

Because we were able to start with a process and then find the right assets, I think that’s enabled us to be very nimble and perhaps achieve this change where it would be more difficult if you had an existing asset.

I think it would be very modest as well, Francis about your own role in leading the team to where it is today and perhaps we’ll get onto to that in a second, but I just wanted to also ask, how easy has it been to raise capital with something that so new where perhaps the risks aren’t as well understood as with more traditional forms of generating electricity or extracting?

It was more challenging at the beginning, is the answer to that. I think we did quite a good job at the beginning of doing a lot of investor education on the type of lithium extraction that we’re doing and the environmental benefits of doing this. We sponsored some studies; the first lifecycle assessment of lithium hydroxide production globally, and I think the first one that was ever done. And in showing what our footprint would be, what a footprint of that typical direct lithium extraction project would be, and then using geothermal as well, to really highlight what we’re trying to do here and the savings.

Then we commissioned some articles and investor education into direct lithium extraction. The lithium industry is still a very small industry, very niche, quite closed, and so not that much sort of information filtering out into the public sphere, or at least it was sort of three or so years ago, four or so years. And this particular topic, direct lithium extraction, is a small industry within a small industry. So it was about shining a light on that and saying, actually, this is a well understood technology, it has been used since the nineties.

We can apply this to geothermal brines and the experts, the industry experts are comfortable with this technology. This gradually started to filter into the global investor sphere and things got easier in terms of raising capital as a result of that. Now, we also had, I think, much more focused on, let’s say, ESG sort of friendly projects and companies in the last year or two and which is really put some tailwinds behind us as well. So that’s also, I think, capital more available to us over the course of the company’s existence. And then finally, we also put out a pre-feasibility study on the projects around about a year ago now, which showed our targets; financial metrics for the projects, and basically saying, you know, not only is this a decarbonisation opportunity for a material amount of carbon avoided, essentially, it’s also should be a highly profitable operation as well. And whilst capital intensive, it will hopefully be the lowest cost lithium operation in the world, because the leveraging of that freely available heat in the brine. So, that also made raising capital a lot easier. Following the release of that, we undertook to capital raise, because of last year, for about $320m AUD, and really more from the institutional side of things. So it’s getting easier: I would say investors become more educated as to the types of technologies that we’re using. And we just seen Rio Tinto take over its direct lithium extraction company, not geothermal, but still a similar type of technology, for just under $1b USD. So there’s this corporate activity in the space as well. And once again, that makes things easier in terms of raising capital.

And you talked about the range of capital available to you and the increasing levels of awareness of what you’re doing. Do you see the shift even in the time that you’ve been up and running? Have you seen that shift quite significantly?

Retail banking in the early years of the company, and I think the power over the course of the last two years has really shifted towards retail shareholders versus institutional. I think they are able to move markets in a way that has not been seen before, really, in a public markets. I think once again, the message really resonated with a lot of, sort of, mum and dad’s investors initially, which really helps with our initial capital raising and valuation. And then, you know, as the story develops, I guess more traditional sources of equity are made available to us and have been made available to us from corporates, from institutional investors, from our stock exchange listing. And lastly, over the course of the last 12, 18 months, much more focused as you can imagine, I’m sure, on ESG, I think this ticks lots of boxes on ESG, particularly on the ‘E’ side, but really across the spectrum. And, we’ve seen really a step change, availability of ESG money. I think there’s an excess of funds available for good companies and projects, and there’s frankly not enough investment opportunities out there.

Francis, you mentioned everything around your investors, but what I found interesting is that you haven’t actually mentioned any government support. So where do you see the government come in? From an investment point of view, but also more from a support and engagement point of view. But then also, how do you engage with the government to pick them up and to make sure that you have their support?

Yeah, sure. Thanks, Philip. We’re in Germany, so we deal with the governments at a local level, at a state level, at a federal level. And we also deal with the European Union as well. I mean, simply put, I think the engagement at all these levels is tremendously positive. The German government has some very ambitious decarbonization plans and with phasing out of coal and nuclear, really desperately needs a lot of renewable energy supply, particularly heating, which is really the elephant in the room with decarbonisation in Europe at the moment. And this is something our geothermal projects are uniquely positioned to be able to service. I think will be hopefully a material contributer to that decarbonisation. And, also from the lithium perspective, you know, the automotive industry is the largest industry in Germany by quite a large margin I think. And what we’re doing here is securing a critical raw material for the present and the future of the automotive industry. You know, 80% of lithium hydroxide supplies control, and the lithium batteries do not work without the lithium. So, you know, securing this supply for the auto industry in Germany means that we’re very important, I think, sort of strategically, geopolitically as well. We’ve had a lot of I’d say quite vocal support from the government so far, state and federal at an EU level as well, because this fits with the EU green deal and what they’re trying to achieve, also the European Battery Alliance, what they’re trying to achieve. I think starting in terms of what that means, we’re starting to see this filter into messaging around permitting time. We’re seeing concrete actions being taken at a state level to shorten permitting times for renewable energy projects: such as ours. In the past, I think everyone accepts that the permitting times have been just too long, and I think what we’re seeing now, hopefully, is concrete action to speed this up. That’s how the government is really assisting us. You know, I often get asked the question always facing financial. It’s always nice, but we can’t wait around for that.

Perfect for the government, isn’t it? You know, it’s the private sector taking the lead in solution development without, you know, dependency on the public purse.

That’s right. Yep. So, you know, if we are given any assistance, that’s always welcome. And we know things like, the European Investment Bank is, is there to assist, but they’re not there to replace the private markets. And so far we have been well supported by the private markets to fund what we’re doing.

I mean, they say timing is everything. And there’s a number of things that you’ve mentioned there, but evidence alignment at the macro level of government policy, the availability of capital, clearly idea generation, that’s of its moment, including the need for your offtakers to evidence through their own supply chain the decarbonisation of access to critical raw ingredients for their own production.

But you also mentioned interesting, I think, the challenges and of local issues. So where your operational footprint is that you’ve needed, you know, local authority, local municipality and support and acceleration of like say permitting and licensing exploration and the development of the business. It’s one of the challenges for renewables, it’s been there sort of perennially. What more do you think could be done to support businesses like yours that clearly have a line of sight to something that’s a bit of a game changer in this instance in the automotive industry? What more can be done, do you think, to help businesses like yours?

Well, I think we’re already getting, just from a Vulcan perspective, I think, as I said, we are well supported. I think more of what we’re starting to see in terms of speeding up permitting times that is a must, I think it is recognised as a must in Germany, cutting through some of the red tape. It needs to happen for renewable energy projects, otherwise we’re never going to hit these ambitious goals to decarbonise and we’re never going to have energy security and we’re going to be reliant on a geopolitically undesirable country. So I think that is a very simple need that we all ask for: that’s on the energy side. I think on the raw materials side, it gets a bit more complex globally because I think citizens of the West have developed a rather convenient cognitive dissonance in terms of: they want to have Electric Vehicles, they want to have renewable energy. But, all of the metals and raw materials that are needed for this, they don’t want to have the production of this in their countries, in their neighbourhoods, on their doorsteps, and they want this to happen somewhere else, sort of out of sight out of mind.

And, you can read an article on sourcing cobalt for lithium-ion batteries in the Congo and you can feel sad about it over breakfast, but then you sort of forget about it. And where beside you, if you try to open a cobalt mine nearby in a neighbourhood, I think we need to get over that

The best way to produce raw materials in the most sustainable way possible is to do it within our own countries. We have the resources to do so, we have the highest standards of raw materials production in the West. We should be taking advantage of these resources and trying to find solutions as we’re doing to produce them in the most sustainable way that we should be utilising these resources and we shouldn’t be offshoring our problem.

You’re just seen in the in the US, the Biden administration. I’m not willing to drill down to the specifics, but I think they’ve been very positive on the Electric Vehicle transition. But, every time there’s a project that comes up for copper, for cobalt, etc., for local production in the US and lithium as well, I think companies are not getting the support from the Federal Government in the US. There is a bit of a disconnect there, and I think the West needs to fix that issue as well. Otherwise, geopolitically, we’re going to be very vulnerable: to those countries such as China if we do control lithium and do control cobalt. Quite simply, our businesses are automotive companies: they’re going to be beholden to foreign powers and we don’t want that. And, the energy transition and getting to net zero will be at risk because we just don’t have enough supply. We do need support at a government level to be able to extract the raw materials.

Yeah, I think you make a very valid point there. We’ve talked about investor education, this government support alignment and education. There’s also the local community, isn’t there? And you rightly mention the public awareness of how these raw ingredients arrive at our doorstep, but also how they’re produced and if it’s on your own doorstep. There might be a different perception as to whether it’s somewhere else. Can you say a little bit about how you manage the challenges of that?

Quite simply, a project doesn’t get built and shouldn’t get built without the approval of the local communities. In our case, it’s a bit easier than some of the examples I’ve mentioned in copper and cobalt, because in our case, what we’ve developed is really a non-mining production solution. I’d be the first to admit, having started my career in mining in Europe, that building a mine in Europe is almost impossible, particularly an open pit mine, which is often the case for lithium production. So, what we’ve developed here is a non-mining lithium production solution; which is effectively a lithium extraction circuit attached to a renewable energy plant.

What I think we’ve done is come up with something which we think is very palatable and indeed attractive to local communities. We’ve set ourselves the target to be net positive, in terms of things like biodiversity as well; we want to leave the area better than we found it, as well as being net zero carbon as well. We, in some cases depending on the local infrastructure, we can also contribute renewable heating to local grids. So, that will be a direct net benefit to the immediate communities surrounding us. We think that in addition to the jobs that we will create with this, and really the jobs of the future, of lithium extraction and processing for the battery industry, we think this goes a long way to achieving community acceptance. But, for any new project, whatever you’re building, it’s a process. It takes a lot of commitment, I think a lot of boots on the ground and and face time with local communities. We’re dealing across multiple communities across the Upper Rhine Valley because we’re developing multiple projects. So, we’re investing a lot of resources into that and opening up local shopfronts, etc., so people can come in and talk. And we’ll be having a trailer travelling around and setting up to talk to people as well. I think it’s a process, but I’m confident that we’ve got the right team to Get there.

How do you feel that it is going so far, you know, setting up the shops and the trailer, like do you think the engagement from the community is positive so far?

And actually there is quite a lot of engagement?

I think we’re very early in the process. Geothermal has some opponents just like solar and wind: predominately around things like seismicity, for some projects which were handled in the wrong way in the past has produced issues.

It’s up to us to show how we employ best practice to avoid these issues. I think we’ve achieved some very positive feedback, particularly from the younger generation, because they really see this as something which is achieving decarbonisation and increasing their jobs of the future. Of course, we’ve received negative feedback as well. I think that’s a natural initial reaction at a local level, but I think the more time we spend with people locally, we see those attitudes really start to change quite rapidly. Once we have an opportunity to explain our story properly and to explain the benefits; what we’re doing and the whole philosophy behind the company, I think we would really start to see attitudes change.

We talk, Francis, about some of the environmental benefits of what you’re doing. Can you say something about the circular economy principles that you incorporate into the opporations of the business?

Yeah, sure. I guess one of the main ingredients of all of this is the lithium. Lithium is, in theory, fully recyclable. And the process that we use to produce the lithium, the battery, it should lend itself well to recycling the lithium at the end of life as well. Now, we’re some way off getting to those volumes in the lithium industry; when lithium recycling is significant. But we would certainly like to be front and centre of when those volumes start to develop. So first, from a lithium perspective, once it’s produced, we expect that to be used in Electric Vehicle batteries, then once it gets to 80% or less of its former capacity, we expect that to be utilised in stationary storage. And so there’s probably 15 to 20 years of use before we’ll see that lithium again. But once that comes around, we think – and we’ve put some thoughts into this – that we would be part of the other side of that circular economy as well. In addition to that, the way that geothermal is set up, the brine is pumped out from a deep geothermal reservoir. The energy is produced from the brine – so heat and or power – and then once the lithium is extracted, brine is then re-injected back into the reservoir. So that’s the closed loop system. Water comes up and water goes down basically.  And then there’s effectively a recharge from a heat perspective, and also to a degree from a lithium perspective as well, because the lithium is also being picked up from the source rocks as well. And so there’s a circular process happening there as well. So, both on the lithium side and on the geothermal side, circularity is very much in builds, too.

Thanks for explaining that, I think it’s fascinating. In terms of your supply chain, you have offtake agreements with some very well known branded car manufacturers. Can you say something about the type of engagement that you have with these organisations now to decarbonize their own supply chain, and your critical part of that? But I’m really interested to get behind the nature of the conversation and the commitment they have to working with a new business like yours.

Sure. So, as you pointed out, we’ve completed offtake agreements now with Volkswagen, Renault, Stellantis, LG, and Umicore. Volkswagen was actually one of the first automakers to publicly say that they want to produce a net zero carbon Electric Vehicle, including all the raw materials that go into the batteries; the battery, obviously being that the hotspots of the carbon footprint of Electric Vehicle production. That was actually a major inspiration, seeing that statement from Volkswagen and basically setting a challenge: the industry saying this is what we want to create, now go and find the solution.

That was a major inspiration for setting up Vulcan in the first place. And then when we sat down with them for the first time, it was interesting that – you sit in a room with two people – with the head of sustainability, as well as the purchasing person: the offtaking, negotiating position, as well the commercial business. So, the sustainability person carried lots of weight in that room. We can immediately see that for setting up these new supply chains in battery raw materials for Electric Vehicles for these companies, it was going to be a really major issue. This carbon footprint was the footprint:  biodiversity, all of these sustainability metrics. So, that was an education. I think that’s a completely new market is being created as part of this Electric Vehicle transition.

Great. I want to loop back to a comment that I made at the start, which was really around your leadership and how you operate with purpose. That strikes me as something that is core to the way the business itself operates and its ethos. Can you talk about what drives that, and how you see the role of the corporate now in developing solutions? And I mean that in quite a philosophical way, actually, because there’s operating with purpose and with a view to profit, but there’s also a way of operating that really does make a difference to the long term health of our planet. And sometimes people would imagine that those things aren’t aligned. But I think what you’ve done with this organization is show that they are. So can you say something to that?

Yeah, sure. From a personal perspective, it’s a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning: well, depending on the time of the year, the teams call at various hours of the night. It’s a lot easier to do that when there’s a very clear purpose and personal agenda behind it. I mean, climate change and biodiversity loss, you know, the great fights of our lives, I think. And, as a father of two young kids, that’s the main threat to my to my children that I have to fight. And so that’s a major personal motivator. And then, I think I sort of realised that it’s really up to the private sector to drive this change. You know, we do live in this capitalistic society where ultimately it’s down to the companies – the corporates – to make this to make this happen. And, particularly you have to also tick the the profitability box to be able to to raise your first funds on the stock market. When you sit in front of fund managers or the brokers who are going to be discussing your story with clients. It has to be profitable, it can’t just be a nice story. So, you have to put some cut-throat capitalism in there as well. But, I think we’re fortunate in that the way the world now is, and I think you don’t recognize this at your peril – and the way carbon pricing is going – the companies that are not just insulated from carbon price going up, but the companies that can actually benefit from that carbon price going up, are the companies that will succeed today, and tomorrow, and going forwards, and there is very few of them.

So if you can get that right, you stand out with only a few other investment opportunities that some fund managers are desperately looking for. So yeah, I think that initial ethos of fusing the motivation with the cutthroat capitalism to make this work, has stood us in good stead since we started.

Taking this. I would say I’m still relatively young, so I am adding my young view here. You see that there’s a lot of attrition, especially for example in the industry I work in: in consulting, and especially the younger people really want to work at a place that has value and where you can live that value and the purpose day in, day out. Because, once you’re passionate about something, I think it makes it easier as well and you perform at a higher level as well.

In Vulcan, are there certain guidelines or are you enforcing certain rules to make sure that everyone adheres to certain values and principles, and your purpose that you bring to the company? And going forward, as a company grows, I guess it’s always harder to keep these things. Are you worried that you might lose some of it in Vulcan?

I don’t think there’s a danger of that happening. I mean, the last time we had a get together, well the last time I was in Germany, we had a good get together as a team. People were coming up to me and I guess, holding me to account to make sure that we were sticking to the message and the goals and being zero fossil fuels and zero carbon. Engineers were asking me if they see an opportunity to incorporate fossil fuels to power our process: that’s going to perhaps lower costs. Should we go for that? And, my answer is always no, we need to find solutions to work around that.

So, there is a very strict zero of fossil fuels for powering the process mandate, and there is a very strict need to keep this net zero carbon mandate as well. And, I don’t think we’re going to lose that. Because I think we have a rather fundamentalist attitude here, but I think that really sets us apart. So, we lose that at our peril going forwards.

Francis, another question I had was coming from a German family who is very enthusiastic about cars. In terms of production and the overall lifecycle of of a car, what’s the difference between a combustion engine car versus an electric car, in terms of how green is an electric car really in comparison?

Thanks Phillip. So really important to note that even with the current status quo of, let’s say, less than optimal battery, raw materials, production and supply chains for everything that goes into your electric car and the battery: the lithium, nickel, copper, cobalt. Electric cars are still greener in that they have a lower carbon footprint, lower greenhouse footprint than fossil fuel vehicles over the lifecycle of the vehicle. And that’s even with quite a carbon intensive, dirty energy mix for the electricity: for the power that the Electric Vehicle uses. Obviously, if you’re charging off the solar panels on your roof, then that gets even greenest. Now, initially, when you first produce the Electric Vehicle – because of the carbon intensity of the battery – it is when you take delivery of your car, depending on the manufacturer, it will still be more carbon intensive than a fossil fuel vehicle. but that that changes by some estimates in a matter of months, since the Electric Vehicle becomes lower carbon intense very, very quick. And so it is really important to note that that’s the case. What we’re saying is, obviously, we think we can do better. We think we can get to net zero for lithium going into the batteries. And, I think there’s going to be solutions for all of the battery raw materials so that you truly get to net zero for Electric Vehicle production. But it is important to note that even in the current status, go out and buy an electric car, you’re helping with the energy transition. You’re helping with decarbonization already as the current situation stands.

Well, thank you for that, Francis. And on that note, I think we will wrap up, but it’s been an absolute pleasure and delight to speak with you today. We wish you very well for the future. Thank you for your time.

 Thank you.

Thanks so much, Josephine. Thanks Phillip. thanks for having me on, cheers.