Metal Tech News - June 16, 2023
Crossing another major milestone on its path to producing zero-carbon lithium and electricity from geothermal brines at its Hell's Kitchen project in Southern California, Controlled Thermal Resources Holdings Inc. announced that it has engaged Aquatech as its technology partner to design and build plants that will upgrade lithium chloride recovered to the lithium hydroxide monohydrate needed for electric vehicle batteries.
"Aquatech is a global leader in their field with well-established process systems and technologies to produce lithium products that will meet our client's rigorous specifications for high energy density battery cathode manufacturing," said Controlled Thermal Resources CEO Rod Colwell. "These efforts will support our client's transition to electric mobility and greatly accelerate a secure and genuinely sustainable supply of lithium hydroxide in North America."
Once up and running, CTR's Hell's Kitchen facility Stage 1 is slated to produce approximately 55 megawatts of baseload renewable electricity and roughly 25,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate-equivalent products, enough for the batteries in 415,000 standard-sized EVs, each year.
Working alongside its technology partners, CTR recently tested the lithium recovery circuit with a one-tenth, commercial-scale optimization plant that operated at a steady rate for 3,000 hours over a six-month span that ended in April.
This direct lithium extraction unit recovered 95-97% of lithium in the brine.
Now, CTR has entered into a partnership to utilize Aquatech's innovative process technology to upgrade lithium chloride extracted from the geothermal brines to the battery-grade product needed by automakers.
Aquatech's commitment to long-term sustainability and achieving the lowest carbon and water footprint to minimize environmental impacts is an ideal fit for the ESG-forward approach CTR is taking at Hell's Kitchen.
With the zero-carbon energy generated from the geothermal heat from powering the extraction of lithium from those same hot brines and then conversion to battery-grade lithium hydroxide, CTR will provide automakers with a product that elevates the ESG credentials of the EVs with Hell's Kitchen lithium.
As a sustainability bonus, this plant along the shores of the Salton Sea will feed a steady supply of zero-carbon energy into the SoCal electrical grid.
"Aquatech is excited to have commenced work on this landmark project fully supporting CTR's vision of establishing the largest and most sustainable integrated lithium and renewable power facility," said Aquatech Executive Chairman Venkee Sharma. "By joining forces, we are not only advancing the goals of U.S. energy security and the clean energy transition but also revolutionizing the industry through CTR's groundbreaking geothermal energy utilization at the Salton Sea. This collaboration will pave the way for sustainable critical mineral recovery, battery manufacturing, and recycling."
CTR intends to begin construction of its stage-one lithium hydroxide facility in 2024, with the first battery-grade products due for delivery to lithium-ion battery manufacturers in 2025.
CORRECTION: This article was updated on June 19 to correctly state the quantities of lithium and and electricity slated to be produced during Stage 1 at the Hell's Kitchen project. The previous version stated the cumulative production for all stages.