Geothermal Plants Could Solve America’s Lithium Supply Crunch

By: | April 7th, 2022

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The demand for lithium has grown exponentially in recent years. Lithium is essential for lithium-ion batteries, to power electric vehicles and portable electronic devices.

The demand for lithium is further expected to increase by 500% by 2050 due to its vital role in a high-tech world.

The demand for lithium is rising but the U.S. relies heavily on lithium imports from other countries. Most of the nation’s lithium supply comes from Argentina, Chile, Russia, and China. But the Russian military operations inside Ukraine and reliance on Russian ally’ China have put mineral security in question for the United States.

That’s where geothermal lithium comes into the picture

Geothermal brines are the concentrated liquid left over after heat and steam. This complex saltwater is enriched with lithium and other minerals. Battery-grade lithium can be extracted from these brines cost-effectively.

Despite its proven potential, geothermal energy has long been overshadowed by relatively cheaper solar and wind power.

But this is going to change soon!

Geothermal brines beneath places like California’s Salton Sea in the U.S. are on the verge of recovering this critical mineral in vast quantities. Large lithium resources have been identified mainly in the Salton Sea. It has the potential to supply enough lithium which is about 10 times the current U.S. demand.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

More articles from Industry Tap...