The California Energy Commission has an open grant funding opportunity for projects on corrosion and scaling in geothermal, and lithium extraction.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced a Grant Funding Opportunity for projects that seek to address corrosion and/or scaling in geothermal installations in California or advance technologies to enhance extraction of lithium and other valuable minerals from geothermal brine at the Salton Sea geothermal field.
The total estimated available funding for “Geothermal Energy Operations and Lithium Innovation” (GFO-23-304) is USD 23 million. The deadline for application is on the 15th of April, 2024. The official documents and forms related to the grant application can be accessed via this link.
Each project must fall within one of the following project groups:
- Group 1: Preventing Scaling and Corrosion in Geothermal Facilities;
- Group 2: Recovering Minerals and Decreasing Waste Products from Geothermal Brine; or
- Group 3: Comprehensive Brine Management Concepts to Reduce Operating Costs and Improve Mineral Recovery.
Thein-state generation of geothermal energy in California in 2019 was 10,943 GWh, which represents more than 5 percent of the total in-state generation. However, only a small fraction of the geothermal resources in California with the potential to generate power have been developed. To maximize the potential for geothermal energy deployment in California, improvements to cost, technical risk, and operational performance are needed.
Corrosion and scaling in geothermal infrastructure are major challenges for making geothermal energy cost effective and more reliable. This is especially the case at the Salton Sea geothermal field, which has a generation technical potential of 2,950 megawatts (MW) but has one of the most corrosive and high-salinity brines in the world.
The Salton Sea geothermal field also contains high concentrations of valuable minerals in the brine that can greatly improve the economics of geothermal energy development. For example, this resource is estimated to be capable of producing more than 600,000 metric tons of lithium carbonite equivalent (LCE) per year – worth over $6 billion and sufficient to produce about 11.3 million electric vehicle batteries annually.
The CEC has been very supportive of efforts to extract lithium from geothermal brine in the Salton Sea in recent years. In 2020, the CEC had also approved USD 10 million in grants for three geothermal-related projects, two of which were demonstration projects for lithium extraction. Also in 2020, Controlled Thermal Resources was awarded a grant of USD 4.46 million by the CEC for their pioneering Hell’s Kitchen geothermal project that seeks to extract both lithium and silica from geothermal brine.
Source: California Energy Commission
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