News & media

Lithium will fuel the clean energy boom. This company may have a breakthrough

By Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times | October 14, 2019

 

 

Gaze across the Salton Sea, a sparkling oasis in the California desert, and you’ll see white plumes of steam rising against the hazy Chocolate Mountains.

The steam comes from 11 geothermal power plants, nestled between the accidental lake and the verdant farm fields of the Imperial Valley. The area has been churning out climate-friendly geothermal energy since the 1980s, long before solar panels and wind turbines became cheap and abundant.

The geothermal plants could soon contribute to California’s war against climate change in a new way: by producing lithium, a key ingredient in batteries that power electric cars and store solar power for use after dark.

Companies have tried for decades to extract lithium from the super-heated underground fluid used for energy generation at the southern end of the Salton Sea, home to one of the world’s most powerful natural geothermal hot spots. Just a few years ago, a technology start-up called Simbol Materials went bust shortly after Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. offered to buy it for $325 million.

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September 7, 2015 Renewable energy bill far from perfect, experts say | Sammy Roth, The Desert Sun - (pdf)

September 3, 2015 Brown appoints Bruce Wilcox to lead Salton Sea policy - (pdf)

August 17, 2015 Four Powerhouse Bills to Help California get to 50 Percent Renewable Energy | Lauren Navarro , EDF - (article)

August 8, 2015 Alexander Sherriffs and William B. Marcus: Clean-energy economy for the Valley - (pdf)

August 4, 2015 California is ahead of the game as Obama releases Clean Power Plan | LA Times - (article)

August 3, 2015 What We Can Learn from Germany’s Windy, Sunny Electric Grid | Andrew Campbell / Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley - (pdf)

August 2, 2015 Obama to Unveil Tougher Environmental Plan With His Legacy in Mind | Coral Davenport & Gardiner Harris / NY Times - (pdf)

August 1, 2015 Creating Western regional energy market could help state meet climate goals | Carl Zichella, Sacramento Bee - (article)

June 19, 2015 In the Footsteps of Other Popes, Francis Seeks Worldly Change | Laurie Goodstein, NY Times - (pdf)

June 17, 2015 Ivanpah Solar Production Up 170% in 2015 Breaking Energy | Pete Danko - (pdf)

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