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Lithium Extraction Plant Coming to The Salton Sea

Rendering courtesy of Controlled Thermal Resources Holdings Inc.

Last month, construction commenced on the first large-scale direct lithium extraction facility in the United States, situated in California's "Lithium Valley." This project has the potential to revitalize the Salton Sea area. Lithium is a material essential for global energy transition.

Australia-based Controlled Thermal Resources Holdings Inc. is leading the $1.85 billion initiative to establish a fully integrated lithium and renewable energy production complex along the shoreline of the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley region. The groundbreaking on January 30 marked the commencement of the initial phase of construction.

"We are building the foundations for a truly sustainable battery materials and clean energy campus that will close the gap between upstream, midstream and downstream activities and set new standards for battery supply chain integration in the United States," said firm CEO Rod Colwell.

The plant will unite a geothermal power facility with lithium production, pioneering the world's first combination of these processes. The inaugural phase is projected to yield approximately 25,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate annually, catering to the production needs of around 415,000 electric vehicles each year.

Major automotive manufacturers have already hopped on board with investment money. In 2021, General Motors became the primary private investor, contributing an undisclosed sum in the "multi-million" dollar range. Further backing came in August 2023 when Stellantis injected $100 million into the project.

Upon reaching full operational capacity, the facility aims to deliver up to 300,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent annually. Through a decade-long agreement, the developer will supply Stellantis with up to 65,000 metric tons per year of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate.

Read full story on Engineering News-Record

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