Monday, October 31, 2016

USA, California: EnergySource Testing New Process to Extract Lithium from Geothermal Waters

A Salton Sea geothermal company thinks it's solved the lithium puzzle. Will this time be different? (The Desert Sun)

(Courtesy EnergySource)
EnergySource, which runs the 50-megawatt John L. Featherstone geothermal plant, has been testing a new process to extract lithium and other metals from the underground brine it uses to generate electricity, according to Eric Spomer, the company's president and chief executive. The results have been promising enough that a Texas investment group just bought a 38.5-percent ownership interest in EnergySource. The firm has invested additional money to fund more thorough testing of the extraction process, which Spomer expects to take about six months.

If EnergySource has figured out how to make money extracting lithium, the consequences could be enormous — not only for the electric carmakers, who are hungry for the metal, but for the region's geothermal industry, which has stalled in recent years. Building a geothermal plant is expensive, and lithium would be a lucrative new revenue stream that would geothermal more attractive to investors.