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Albemarle Picked by U.S. DOE for Two Lithium Research Projects

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Albemarle Corporation ALB stated that it has been picked by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a critical partner for two lithium research projects for a period of three years through a Battery Manufacturing Lab Call.

The first project, Advanced Brine Processing to Enable U.S. Lithium Independence, is in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory. The project will enable the development of a novel technology providing a new production route that by-passes steps and goes directly to lithium hydroxide from lithium chloride.

The second project, Scaling-Up of High-Performance Single Crystalline Ni-rich Cathode Materials with Advanced Lithium Salts, will be conducted in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. It will speed up the commercialization of high-energy cathodes, which is used for extending battery life in electric vehicle applications.

Albemarle also stated that if the execution of the first project is successful it will enable more efficient utilization of lithium brine resources in the Clayton Valley area of Nevada. It will also make a new pathway to a critical lithium material. The technology also has the potential to make U.S. geothermal and oilfield brines more economical. Moreover, the second project will help to learn how tailored lithium salts can boost the performance of cathode. Further, this will lead to longer life and energy dense lithium ion batteries.

Albemarle’s shares have gained 48% in a year compared with the 9.3% rise of its industry.

In August, Albemarle stated that it expects its performance in the third quarter of 2020 will be lower on a year-over-year basis on reduced global economic activity stemming from the pandemic. It expects net sales for the third quarter between $700 million and $775 million. Moreover, adjusted EBITDA for the quarter has been forecast in the range of $140-$190 million.

The company has also accelerated its cost-savings program and expects to realize $50-$70 million of savings this year.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Albemarle currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space include Kinross Gold Corporation KGC, Eldorado Gold Corporation EGO and Yamana Gold Inc. AUY, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

Kinross has an expected earnings growth rate of 100% for 2020. The company’s shares have surged 71.7% in the past year.

Eldorado Gold has an expected earnings growth rate of 2,325% for 2020. Its shares have returned 14.5% in the past year.

Yamana has an expected earnings growth rate of 76.9% for 2020. The company’s shares have soared 73.6% in the past year.

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