Precious Lithium Squeezed Out of Geothermal Waste Water

by , 12/11/09

sustainable design, green design, geothermal technology, lithium, simbol mining, renewable energy, waste reduction, saltonsea

We need electric vehicles to curb our thirst for oil, but there’s a problem: EV’s generally use lots of lithium in their batteries, and that’s another limited resource. Now Simbol Mining thinks it has a partial solution in a new technique that extracts battery lithium from the wastewater of geothermal plants.

sustainable design, green design, geothermal technology, lithium, simbol mining, waste reduction, renewable energy, Geothermal power

Currently, most lithium is sourced from soil or dried brine in a water-intensive process. But Simbol’s technique uses water that is already being extracted for geothermal energy. The technique, which Simbol hopes to use in the geothermal and lithium-rich waters in California’s underground Salton Sea, pulls lithium ions out of the water and into a lithium chloride compound that can be mixed with sodium carbonate for shipping. Heat from the water helps power the process.

Simbol is in the midst of building a pilot plant that can produce a ton of lithium metal each month. If all goes well, the company will scale up. And within ten years, Simbol hopes that it will produce a quarter of the world’s demand for lithium-carbonate — not bad for some dirty geothermal waste water.

+ Simbol Mining

Via New Scientist

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  1. $1 Trillion Afghan Mine... June 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    […] the minerals found in abundance are rare earth elements utilized in many green technologies and lithium, which is the key ingredient in batteries for computers and electric […]

  2. stargazer711 March 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    As a part owner of some property where one of the geothermal plants is to be built near Salton Sea, I can assure you that the “sea” (actually a lake formed by a levee breach on the Colorado river in 1905) is very much ABOVE ground! The geothermal resources in the area of course are underground, and a test well for the project we are involved with reached a depth of over 6000 feet.

  3. jeanX December 12, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Did you read today that AltaRock had closed?
    This was Obama’s hope to replace fossil-fuels.

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