Researchers at Berkeley Lab met with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm last week to discuss the #lithium potential at the Salton Sea geothermal field in Lithium Valley. This critical mineral is the primary potential #geothermal resource for lithium in the U.S., according to Patrick Dobson, who leads a project to quantify how much lithium exists there and how to source it in an environmentally sustainable way.
Researchers from EESA and the Energy Technologies Area (ETA) met with U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm during her visit to Berkeley Lab for a DOE Advisory Board meeting. They discussed with her their work analyzing the lithium resource potential at the Salton Sea Geothermal Field. The project led by Pat Dobson, Geothermal Systems Program Lead, aims to quantify how much of that lithium can be extracted in a sustainable way. Pictured above: Mike Whittaker, Will Stringfellow, Veronica Rodriguez Tribaldos, Secretary Granholm, Nori Nakata, Pat Dobson, and Dev Millstein.
Berkeley Lab Research Scientist Michael Whittaker develops tools and methods to view mineral resources in new ways, zooming in to the level of atoms to inspire ideas that will help transition towards sustainable extraction of critical elements like lithium.
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California has committed to 60 percent renewable energy by 2030. With an urgent need for lithium to help facilitate this transition, Pat Dobson is leading a project to investigate lithium extraction in California’s Salton Sea region, and was featured in a CapRadio Q&A to discuss the research details.
The Salton Sea geothermal field in California potentially holds enough lithium to meet all of America’s domestic battery needs, with even enough left over to export some of it. But how much of that lithium can be extracted in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way? And how long will the resource last? These are just a few of the questions that researchers hope to answer in a new project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
A Lab wide town hall was held on January 19th, 2022 to prepare LBNL for multiple upcoming funding calls likely to cover topics specified in the DOE Critical Mineral and Materials Strategy and the FCAB Battery Blueprint. Topics included previous lab wide CMM efforts, new and emerging areas of interest in CMM, and sustaining an LBL vision for CMM.
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With the growth of the electrical vehicle market and the increasing demand for battery energy storage with the rapid expansion of intermittent renewable energy sources, the need for reliable, abundant, and domestic sources of Li is becoming more critical. One resource that has been identified for decades but has not been commercially exploited to date is Li in geothermal brines. The Salton Sea geothermal field taps into hypersaline (>200,000 ppm TDS) brines with elevated (200-300 ppm) Li concentrations.