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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.