Geothermal Development and Lithium Recovery

Lithium can be recovered from the brine that geothermal power plants pump from deep in the earth. Pilot projects have demonstrated that this extractive method is a significantly more cost-effective and less environmentally damaging way to produce lithium, an essential element for auto and energy-storage batteries. Lithium extraction would greatly boost the economic prospects of geothermal energy plants by creating a substantial new revenue stream, and could stimulate a new generation of plants in the Known Geothermal Resource Area by Imperial Valley’s Salton Sea. CEERT has helped develop and execute a Knowledge Transfer Plan to advance the commercial viability of this technology, and is working on procurement strategies for new geothermal development to support the future expansion of the lithium industry.

Recent Developments:

V. John White was appointed to Comite Civico del Valle’s Technical Advisory Committee for the Imperial County Programmatic Environmental Impact Report on expanded geothermal power production and the anticipated development of lithium recovery and processing facilities. CCV is the leading community-based organization coordinating the Imperial County labor/community coalition, working to expand workforce training and apprenticeship programs, build out needed infrastructure improvements, and ensure community benefits on a scale to match the needs and opportunities in Imperial County.

In addition, CEERT has continued working to expand transmission in Imperial to enable a full buildout of the county’s geothermal resource and the full development of a lithium recovery and processing complex.