Asterra’s algorithm uncover Underground Lithium, using images from SAR satellites

Tel-Aviv based ASTERRA officially announced today (Mon) that its developments have led to the discovery of lithium, one of the sought-after resources in short supply at the current time. The company also announced that it has registered a patent for the new use of technology and states that the technology is expected to allow it to find additional reservoirs worldwide,  alongside the continued development of the company’s existing capabilities in finding water reservoirs. 

The core technology based on ASTERRA’s solution uses advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence to decode satellites’ synthetic radar (SAR) data using a unique ground-penetrating  frequency. The technology was first applied to the search for underground water on Mars and  other planets during the geophysics studies of founder Lauren Guy. Since 2015, ASTERRA  technology has been used in over 70 countries. 

Under Lauren’s management, Asterra launched its CTO office at the beginning of 2022, aiming to expand the technology’s uses to additional verticals and find other natural resources under  the ground. In light of the expected colossal shortage and the increasing demand for lithium, mainly due to the increase in demand for electric vehicles, semiconductors, chips, cell phones,  and practically in almost every industry where a battery is used, it was decided to focus on this precious metal. 

After examining satellite signals to identify the presence and concentrations of lithium underground at different levels and a test done in the field by several specializing companies, the  findings were confirmed. The results were of significant value and indicate a global breakthrough. 

Lauren Guy, founder and CTO of ASTERRA: “The wonder metal is at the heart of the global desire  to switch to electric vehicales, but the demand significantly exceeds the supply, which causes an almost 500% increase in lithium prices and harms the effort to stop global warming. The global  demand for lithium is insatiable, the supply crisis is present and significant, and the estimates are that it will increase much more in the next 10-20 years. We at ASTERRA are proud to lead the  space-tech industry in Israel, feel that this is just the beginning, and believe that with this  technology, we can all better understand humanity’s signature on the planet.” 

Lithium, silver-white metal and the third largest element after hydrogen and helium, is in the  midst of an unprecedented boom in terms of demand. Therefore, it is not surprising that lithium prices have increased 13 times over the past two years, and in March of this year, its price reached an all-time high of $77,000 per ton. 

Elly Peretz, CEO of ASTERRA: “This is another proof that Israeli initiative and knowledge are at the forefront of the fight against the climate crisis. Congratulations to the staff and management for this significant scientific discovery. I am proud to lead a company that stands at the forefront of the uncompromising fight for a better future for us, our children, and future generations”. 

ASTERRA, IsraAID & GBUC Partner to Achieve Sustainable Water Goals in The Bahamas

When Hurricane Dorian ravaged The Bahamas in 2019, clean water and sanitation were scarce. An Israeli-funded humanitarian organization, IsraAID, was on the front lines providing emergency response. IsraAID worked together with the Grand Bahama Utility Company (GBUC) to develop a water program for Grand Bahama. They called upon ASTERRA to provide the information and tools to make the new program sustainable, by using satellites to detect drinking water leaks underground utilizing their patented and award-winning Recover product.

NASA satellite images show Dorian thrashing Grand Bahama for nearly 40 hours as one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in modern record. Over 70,000 people were left homeless, and few areas had running water or electric power. The hurricane raised the sea level by six meters, leaving 60% of the island surface covered by ocean water. The 20-foot surge of seawater and flooding, which sat for 3 days, destroyed the entire vertical infrastructure including pumping stations, utility poles, wires, electrical components, and control and motoring systems. GBUC’s freshwater aquifer, which was a high quality, abundant, and reliable supply of pristine drinking water for island, was severely compromised and impacted.

Together with IsraAID’s Anton Driz, an expert in integrated water resource management, a plan was put in place to desalinate the water using reverse osmosis. While this creates a reliable water supply, it consumes energy, and the water comes at increased costs. When leaks occur in the distribution system, those leaks are expensive. This is where ASTERRA products became a critical part of the water plan in Grand Bahama.

“The survey showed that 40% of the desalinated water was leaking back to ground water,” said Driz. “Desalination is expensive, particularly when there are leaks. Every gallon costs more, and this is an unsustainable cost. We knew ASTERRA would help quickly address water leaks and set them up for the future.”

Locating leaks in Grand Bahama’s pipelines was easy with ASTERRA’s Recover satellite aperture radar (SAR) product. Grand Bahama received reports showing the areas of probable leaks were contained within 14 kilometers—just 5% of the system. Once investigated and confirmed, ASTERRA Recover identified over three times more leaks every day than previously used detection methods.

Following the completion of GBUC’s $5 million reverse osmosis (RO) installation last month, they conducted a 30-day testing and commissioning process to ensure that the system was functioning adequately and at the specifications prescribed by the World Health Organization for potable water. Philcher Grant, GBUC and Public Affairs Chief Operating Officer stated, “Grand Bahamians and residents have experienced and overcome numerous challenges since Hurricane Dorian ravaged the island back in September 2019. Since then, our team has worked tirelessly with many partners including ASTERRA and we are grateful for their contribution which will help us to ensure that our customers have a reliable, potable water supply for years to come.” On December 13, 2021, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), the regulatory authority with responsibility for utility regulation in Freeport, declared that GBUC now provides potable water to 100% of Grand Bahama residents.

“We have both a social and an economic responsibility to prevent and solve problems like what occurred in Grand Bahama,” said Ionatan Ascher, LATAM Spain & Portugal Sales Manager for ASTERRA. “One of the sub targets of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) is smart water systems management. ASTERRA technology makes it easy to monitor and manage water systems by using our patented algorithm to detect treated water underground from satellite data. This helps locate, monitor, and resolve leaks in the pipelines.”

ASTERRA (formerly Utilis) provides data-driven solutions for water utilities, government agencies, and the greater infrastructure industry. ASTERRA products use synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from satellites and turns this data into large-scale decision support tools. The company’s proprietary algorithms and highly educated scientists and engineers are the key to their mission, to deliver actionable intelligence to advance Earth’s resource resilience.

Since 2017, ASTERRA technology has been used in over 59 countries, saving over 169,280 million gallons of potable water, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 108,339 metric tons, and saving 423,200 MWH of energy, all in support of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. ASTERRA is headquartered in Israel with offices in the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan. Their innovative data solutions are used in multiple verticals around the globe. ASTERRA is investing in artificial intelligence (AI) to bring their products to the next level.

[Pictured above: Eli Peretz. Photographrr: Mical Bendek]