Pujitha Kurukuri

Utilizing Plants to Prevent Detrimental Effects of Lithium Mining

Oakridge Secondary School

What links dead fish in the Liqi River and your phone battery with thousands of tons of emissions? The answer is lithium – an alkali metal used to power our phones, laptops, and recently, electric cars. Developments in electric vehicles using Li-ion batteries are revolutionizing the transport industry, leading to exponential growth in lithium demand to support these innovations. However, the environmental effects of lithium extraction, including water contamination and emissions, are unknown to many. This project examines two key processes of trees: carbon dioxide sequestration – the process of removing and storing CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, and natural filtration. This project studies the sequestration rate and other characteristics of various tree species to suggest trees that are viable in different areas of the world. Reforestation has the capacity to alter the ecological trajectory of our planet and may be one of the many solutions we need to combat climate change.