As demand for lithium for use in automobiles has steadily increased, the U.S. has been relying more and more on South American nations to import the needed material.

However, as part of the federal government’s Recovery Act, a North Carolina firm, Rockwood Lithium, has received a $28.9 million investment to expand lithium production at its King’s Mountain facility in the state, as well as production operations located in Nevada at its Silver Peak site.

A press release, issued by the U.S. Department of Energy yesterday, said the investment will result in one hundred new jobs being created, as well significantly increasing domestic lithium production, reducing dependence on imports.

U.S. Secretary of State for Energy, Stephen Chu, said, in regards to the announcement that, “ with support from the Energy Department, this project will make America more competitive in a range of new technologies and will help ensure the United States leads once again in manufacturing the next generation of clean energy and advanced vehicle technologies.”

The Rockwood expansion project is part of a comprehensive strategy by the Obama Administration to support electric drive and battery facilities within the U.S.

Forming part of the DOE’s EV Everywhere Challenge, it aims to make electric vehicles more convenient and cheaper to own, with the goal of making them a true, practical alternative to internal combustion engine cars and trucks within a decade.

Department of Energy via Autoblog Green