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Using Geothermal Energy to Harvest Carbon-Neutral Lithium

Geothermal energy provides a unique, zero emission renewable resource that can provide base load, dispatchable power. Other renewable technologies, particularly solar and wind, provide the potential for large-scale power generation, but require associated energy storage to allow them to be effectively integrated into the power grid. Lithium-ion batteries are currently the preferred mechanism to achieve this energy storage requirement. This and, to a much larger extent, the demand for electric vehicle batteries, means a rapidly increasing demand for lithium is anticipated to meet battery supply requirements. Using geothermal energy to extract lithium from associated geothermal brines to produce carbon neutral lithium is a subject of active development in multiple areas around the world and provides attractive opportunities that are being actively pursued by Australian companies such as Vulcan Energy, Lemont Geo Lithium and Controlled Thermal Resources. In addition, there are indications that additional opportunities for such projects in Australia exist, with the potential for the economics and emissions profiles of both geothermal and DLE projects to be improved significantly.

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