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Precious Lithium Squeezed Out of Geothermal Waste Water
Posted By Ariel Schwartz On December 11, 2009 @ 12:30 pm In Renewable Energy | 3 Comments
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.
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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 electric vehicles: http://www.inhabitat.com/tag/electric-vehicle/
 lithium: http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2009/02/03/peak-lithium-will-supply-fears-drive-alternative-batteries/
 Simbol Mining: http://www.simbolmining.com/
 geothermal energy: http://www.inhabitat.com/tag/geothermal/
 Salton Sea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_Sea
 hopes: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10011923-54.html
 New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427385.700-battery-lithium-could-come-from-geothermal-waste-water.html
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