EV News

Salton Sea is a Lithium Goldmine for 375 Million Electric Vehicle Batteries

A recent study from the US Department of Energy has unveiled the staggering potential of California’s Salton Sea as a lithium powerhouse. The vast underground reserve of scorching hot brine beneath the lakebed is estimated to contain ample lithium to produce batteries for a whopping 375 million electric vehicles (EVs). This revelation positions the Salton Sea as one of the world’s largest lithium brine deposits, sparking interest in the prospect of transforming the United States into a self-sufficient lithium player for decades to come.

Abundant Lithium Reserves

The US Department of Energy’s study, conducted by researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, quantifies the lithium content in the Salton Sea’s underground reserve for the first time. The findings suggest that the reserve holds approximately 3,400 kilotons of lithium, a quantity capable of manufacturing batteries for an astounding 375 million EVs. This revelation gains significance against the backdrop of projections indicating a surge in the EV market by 2030, potentially leading to a global lithium shortage as early as 2025.

Green Energy Reinvention

While the Salton Sea has long been recognized as an ecological concern, facing challenges such as droughts, heatwaves, and agricultural impact, it has also undergone a green energy reinvention. Companies of varying sizes have explored ways to extract lithium from the geothermal brine beneath the lake’s southern end. Geothermal electricity production has been active in the region for a decade. Governor Gavin Newsom has even dubbed the lake the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.”

Path to Lithium Self-Sufficiency

The US Department of Energy sees the vast lithium reservoir in the Salton Sea as a means to enable the United States to meet or surpass global lithium demand for an extended period. The significance of this discovery lies in the potential for the US to achieve lithium self-sufficiency, reducing dependency on imports, particularly from China. While the commercial-scale extraction of lithium from geothermal brine poses challenges, several companies are actively developing technologies to harness this valuable resource.

Environmentally Friendly Extraction

Unlike traditional methods involving destructive drilling and extensive evaporation pools, companies are working on more environmentally friendly approaches. Direct lithium extraction technology is being explored to efficiently extract brine and separate lithium from other metals, presenting a more sustainable and eco-friendly solution. Key players, including Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Controlled Thermal Resources, GM, Stellantis, and Ford, have made strides in securing lithium from the Salton Sea, contributing to the region’s emerging prominence in the lithium market.

Salton Sea is a Lithium Goldmine for 375 Million Electric Vehicle Batteries
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Latest

To Top