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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April 3, 2018 First Floating U.S. Wind Farm May Be Built Off California Coast | Bloomberg - (pdf)

March 27, 2018 Solar and Wind Need a Larger Electric Grid—and California Might Just Create One | Union of Concerned Scientists - (pdf)

March 23, 2018 A Fossil Fuel Company Tried to Put a Dirty Gas Plant on a Beautiful Coastline. It Failed. | Earth Justice - (pdf)

March 20, 2018 Solar power’s greatest challenge was discovered 10 years ago. It looks like a duck. | Vox Media - (pdf)

February 12, 2018 Big Batteries Are Taking a Bite Out of the Power Market | WSJ - (pdf)

February 6, 2018 Why a Big Utility Is Embracing Wind and Solar | NYT - (pdf)

January 16, 2018 24-Hour Solar Energy: Molten Salt Makes It Possible, and Prices Are Falling Fast | ICN - (pdf)

January 16, 2018 Trump raises the thermostat for geothermal energy | Washington Examiner - (pdf)

December 12, 2017 Toyota and FuelCell Energy Plan to Build a Giant Renewable Power and Hydrogen Plant | GTM - (pdf)

November 29, 2017 Renewable-Power Sector Sees Senate Tax Bill as Major Threat | WSJ - (pdf)

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