American-Made Challenges

 14,654

Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize

Develop solutions that de-risk and increase market viability for direct lithium extraction from geothermal brines.

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stage:
Enter
prize:
$4 Million Total Prize Pool

This challenge is closed

Overview

Challenge Overview

The American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize is designed to find solutions that de-risk and increase market viability for direct lithium extraction (DLE) from geothermal brines. Advancement of DLE technologies allow for improved methods that lower costs, lessen environmental impact, and further the mission to turn the threat of climate change into an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. energy and manufacturing sectors. 

 

Lithium is a major component of high-charge-density batteries for electric vehicles and grid-scale electricity storage. It is expected that global demand for lithium will increase by 500% by 2050 due to widespread adoption of electric vehicles and grid-scale battery storage, making lithium supplies a crucial element in the clean energy supply chain. 

 

The current U.S. lithium stock is almost entirely imported, with only 1% of U.S. lithium supply being sourced domestically. Furthermore, traditional sources of lithium are environmentally destructive. This combination of rapidly expanding global demand and lack of a safe, domestic supply has created an urgency to develop a safe, domestic, cost-competitive source of lithium to ensure American leadership in the transition to a carbon-free economy and a robust domestic supply chain.

 

Prize Structure

The Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize consists of three phases that will fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions to improve the profitability of DLE from geothermal brines. Each stage will include a contest period when participants work to rapidly advance their solutions. 

 

 

Guidelines

Challenge Guidelines

Please review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform. All questions can be sent directly to GeoLithiumExtraction@nrel.gov.

Timeline
Updates 14

Challenge Updates

Now Available: Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Phase 2 Rules

Nov. 24, 2021, 9:31 a.m. PST by NREL

Hello Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Competitors!

Rules for Phase 2 of the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize have been released. Please review the updated Official Prize Rules Document, which is available on the resources page and on the American Made Challenges website

Stay tuned for an upcoming webinar to further discuss Phase 2 rules and upcoming prize events. If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please reach out to us on the forum. 

Thank you!


Congratulations to the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Semifinalists!

Nov. 4, 2021, 9:04 a.m. PDT by NREL

The 15 teams listed below are moving on to Phase 2, each taking home $40,000 in cash prizes, along with a chance to win part of the $1.4 million Phase 2 prize pool. 

All Phase 1 participants will receive judges’ comments within the next two weeks. For those teams selected to move on to Phase 2, please check your email for your next steps and stay tuned to register for the Phase 2 Rules Webinar.

Congratulations to the following teams: 


Last Chance to Submit Ideas for Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Phase 1

Sept. 2, 2021, 6:45 a.m. PDT by NREL

Today is your last chance to submit your impactful solution to Phase 1 of the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize! Submissions are due on HeroX by 5 p.m. ET. 

Do you have a complete submission package prepared? Here’s what you’ll need to submit: 

  • Cover page 
  • Summary slide 
  • 90-second video 
  • Technical narrative 
  • IAP assistance request
  • Optional: Letters of commitment or support 

If you experience technical difficulty uploading your submission, please reach out to the prize administrators as soon as possible at GeoLithiumExtraction@nrel.gov. We will be closely monitoring the inbox all day to help with submission uploads. However, we do recommend submitting well before the 5 p.m. ET deadline.

Interested in learning more about the prize? Check out the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize featured in Battery Power Magazine.

We can’t wait to see your exciting Phase 1 solutions—good luck!


Deadline Approaching: Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Phase 1 Submission Deadline is Next Thursday, Sept. 2.

Aug. 26, 2021, 9:37 a.m. PDT by NREL

The Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Phase 1 submission deadline is next Thursday, Sept. 2, at 5 p.m. ET. We highly recommend submitting all required materials ahead of time to avoid a missed deadline due to network failure or long upload time. 

As a reminder, here are the required components of your submission: 

  • Cover page
  • Summary slide
  • 90-second video
  • Technical narrative
  • IAP assistance request
  • Optional: Letters of commitment or support

Need help? There are still a few timeslots available for office hour sessions ahead of the submission deadline. Appointments are first come, first served. Register for office hours here.

Lastly, we recommend re-reading the rules before finalizing your submission and get your submission in no later than Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. ET!


Now Streaming: “Is There Enough Lithium to Make All the Batteries?”

Aug. 16, 2021, 9:32 a.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

This week, lithium industry expert Alex Grant, principal at Jade Cove Partners, joined the U.S. Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory for a webinar on direct lithium extraction, industry challenges, and possible solutions. During the webinar, Grant discussed the U.S. lithium supply and real-world case studies, as well as how the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize could play a role in finding creative solutions.

Watch now for more information on geothermal brines, direct lithium extraction, and the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize. Don’t forget—submissions are due Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. ET. 


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