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ThinkGeoEnergy – Geothermal Energy News

Geothermal Lithium Mining Award banner (Source: American-Made Challenges website)

Five universities in the United States have been announced to move to the next state in US-made geothermal lithium mining price and can work on their projects to help extract lithium from geothermal brine.

In a statement shared yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the finalists for the $4 million U.S. Lithium Geothermal Mining Prize, a competition supporting innovations that help reduce costs and impacts. environmental aspects of lithium extraction from geothermal brines. , salt water that is a by-product of geothermal energy production.

Demand for lithium, a critical material used in electric vehicle batteries, grid-scale electricity storage, phones and laptops, has grown rapidly in recent years, with global demand expected to increase by 500% by 2050. The United States depends on other countries. for nearly all of its lithium supply, and mining the ore depletes water resources and can harm the environment. The use of brines already produced by geothermal energy presents a solution because it is an environmentally friendly process that produces lithium.

“A reliable supply of lithium in the United States is critical to enabling 100% clean energy conservation and strengthening our energy security,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Assistant Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Energy. renewable. “We look forward to these teams developing innovative solutions that can empower the United States on an essential mineral that powers many aspects of our daily lives, now and in the future.”

With this award, the DOE is advancing the development of national, competitive, and sustainable lithium sources, particularly around the Salton Sea in Southern California. This area has the potential to produce more than 600,000 tons of lithium annually and support a robust supply chain that makes the United States a leading lithium exporter.

The five Geothermal Lithium Mining Award finalists have identified impactful solutions that can safely and cost-effectively extract lithium from geothermal brines. Each team will receive $280,000 and participate in the third and final phase of the competition. The finalists are:

  • George Washington University – Ellexco team: “Chemical-free extraction of lithium from brines”
  • Rice University – LiSED Team: “Selective Lithium Electrodialysis”
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – SelectPureLi team: “A redox membrane for LiOH extraction”
  • University of Utah – University of Utah Team: “Engineering Lithium Ion Sieving Technology”
  • University of Virginia – TELEPORT team: “Targeted extraction of lithium with electroactive particles for recovery technology (TELEPORT)”

Over the next 12 months, these teams will manufacture and test their designs and present their prototypes to a panel of expert reviewers. Winners will be announced in fall 2023 and will receive a total of $2 million.

The American-Made Geothermal Prize is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and funded by the Geothermal Technologies Office of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Source: US Department of Energy

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion