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ThinkGeoEnergy – Geothermal Energy News

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the winning teams of the first-ever American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize. The three teams will split a total of USD 2 million for prototyped innovations to directly extract lithium from geothermal brine. The winning teams are as follows:

  • Winning Team (USD 1 million) – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – Team SelectPureLi, A Redox Membrane for Lithium Hydroxide Extraction
  • Runner-Up (USD 500,000) – University of Virginia – Team TELEPORT, Targeted Extraction of Lithium with Electroactive Particles for Recovery Technology (TELEPORT)
  • Runner-Up (USD 500,000) – George Washington University – Team Ellexco, Chemical-Free Extraction of Lithium from Brines

The Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize was launched in 2021 to help find solutions that de-risk and increase market viability for direct lithium extraction (DLE) from geothermal brines. After a few rounds of selection, the five finalists for the competition were announced in mid-2022. Over the course of two years, the  competitors advanced through three competition phases—moving from concepts developed in phase 1, through a design stage in phase 2, and finally to fabricating and testing prototypes in the third and final phase.

Work under the prize helps support access to cost-effective, domestic sources of this critical mineral for batteries for stationary storage and electric vehicles—crucial to meet the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of 50% electric vehicle adoption by 2030 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. Advancing geothermal lithium extraction will also help ensure American leadership in the clean energy future and create U.S. jobs and a strong domestic supply chain.

“Lithium is an important part of the nation’s energy future and our ability to decarbonize the economy,” said Jeff Marootian, principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “We are excited about the innovations these three winners and all of the prize competitors achieved and look forward to what they do next to advance this technology and help us realize a secure domestic source of this critical mineral.” 

Funded by the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize is part of DOE’s portfolio researching lithium extraction from geothermal brines. The portfolio also includes a joint $11 million funding program by GTO and the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Technologies Office to innovate technologies for extracting and converting battery-grade lithium from geothermal brines.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

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