Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
Providing global warming solutions for California and the West.
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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.
January 7, 2015 Gov. Brown's renewable energy plan could boost solar, wind industries - (pdf)
January 5, 2015 Gov. Brown revives Manuel Pérez’s renewable energy plan - (pdf)
January 5, 2015 Gov. Brown proposes 50% renewables goal in inaugural speech | Debra Kahn / E&E reporter - (pdf)
December 10, 2014 Don’t count on Diablo | Rochelle Becker / New Times SLO - (article)