As a new graduate student embarking on a master’s degree at the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute in 2018, Meg Slattery was struck by how centrally batteries – particularly the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in electric cars – figured into California’s decarbonization strategy.
The multidisciplinary MINES program will establish fundamental science for the synthesis of battery materials from natural resources, enabling a new ‘separation-by-synthesis’ paradigm for energy storage manufacturing. We will address outstanding knowledge gaps related to synthesis in multicomponent systems, for which manifold component interactions control driving forces and transformation pathways in complex ways, and governing relationships are impossible to visualize or intuit in their entirety. Our interdisciplinary expertise and existing collaborative partnerships provide a strong basis to achieve progress towards material- and energy efficient low-carbon manufacturing for energy storage.
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).