American-Made Challenges


Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize

This is designed to find solutions that de-risk and increase market viability for direct lithium extraction (DLE) from geothermal brines.

This challenge is closed

Submission Deadline
$4 Million Total Prize Pool

This challenge is closed


Challenge Overview

The American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize seeks to drive forward the development of economic DLE from geothermal brines found at the Salton Sea by partnering novel geothermal and non-geothermal expertise with experienced DLE industry experts to overcome challenges of geothermal lithium extraction by:

  • Developing electrochemical/electrolysis processes for the direct conversion of a lithium-bearing geothermal brine to a lithium hydroxide product without the intermediate creation of lithium carbonate.
  • Developing new absorbents, precipitants, catalysts, or new processing conditions that can efficiently and selectively extract lithium directly from geothermal brines.
  • Advancements that improve the yield and achievable product purity.
  • Advancements that reduce energy and water consumption rates.
  • Advancements that minimize and/or monetize waste products.

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.  




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

Updates 12

Challenge Updates

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 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. 

Direct Lithium Extraction Webinar with Industry Expert Alex Grant

Aug. 11, 2021, 6:59 a.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Join Alex Grant, principal at Jade Cove Partners, this Thursday, Aug. 12, for a webinar on direct lithium extraction challenges and solutions. Register here

Direct lithium extraction (DLE) is proving to be a technically and economically viable way to source lithium in the U.S. The problem? We need more innovative technologies that make this possible. That’s what participants in the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize—like you—are solving.

Tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 12, at 3 p.m. ET, join industry expert Alex Grant, alongside the U.S. Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for a webinar that discusses the current state of the geothermal industry, DLE challenges, and how we can find solutions. 

This is a great opportunity to gain industry insight and ask questions as you prepare your Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize submission. Register for the webinar now!

Sign-Up Now: 1:1 Office Hours for GLE Competitors with Power Connector ADL

Aug. 4, 2021, 10:04 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Dear Geothermal Lithium Extraction Innovators, 

Looking for feedback on your Phase 1 Submission? 

AMC Power Connector ADL Ventures  is offering free one-on-one feedback sessions for GLE Prize competitors.  At these sessions, ADL will be available to answer your questions about  submission best practices, Phase 1 application process, teaming and suggestions for how to improve your submission for Phase 1. 

Feedback sessions are available every Monday and Wednesday (first come, first serve)  from Aug 16th to Sep 2nd. 

Be sure to secure a 30-minute meeting time now, and remember that Phase 1 submissions for the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize are due on September 2nd at 5 P.M. ET. 


Forum 7
Teams 187

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but it’s quick and easy. Just click the “Solve this Challenge” button on this page and follow the instructions to complete your registration. All you need to provide is your name and email address.

If you have a question not answered in the FAQ, we recommend that you post it in the Forum where someone will respond to you. This way, others who may have the same question will be able to see it.

You can also email

Innovation is about making ideas happen. The American-Made Network will accelerate and sustain innovation through a diverse and powerful network that includes national laboratories, energy incubators, facilities, and other valuable industry partners from across the U.S. who will engage, connect, mentor, and boost the efforts of Geothermal Lithium Extraction competitors.

See who is in the network.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the Prize Administrator for the American-Made Challenges. In this capacity NREL works closely with the U.S. Department of Energy to administer the challenges, maintain the website platform, assist in building the network, and pay prize money to the winning teams.

All of your files are uploaded as part of the submission form, access this by clicking the Begin Entry button.  The submission form contains an upload option for each of the required file entries.  Only PDF files will be accepted for upload.

Power Connector organizations are a core group of Connectors that will work alongside NREL to implement parts of the program and secure additional resources and partners.

Discover who they are and how they will help innovators succeed.

If you encounter an issue when attempting to submit an entry to the challenge, you may need to contact HeroX or the Prize Administrator.

You may try to connect with HeroX using the online form which appears in the bottom right corner of your browser window, it says Leave a Message.

You may also send a message to the Prize Administrator inbox at

Please allow at least 1 business day for a response.

No, if you are a contest winner you are receiving the prize for meeting or exceeding the contest goals. 

Make your own public-facing one-slide submission summary that contains technically specific details but can be understood by most people. There is no template so feel free to present the information as you see fit. Please make any text readable in a standard printout and conference room projection.

The summary slide must be uploaded as a PDF document.  Please be sure that you export or save your slide as a PDF prior to uploading.


An individual prize participant (who is not competing as a member of a group) must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident affiliated with an accredited U.S. institution of higher education. 

A group of individuals, competing as one competitor team, may win, provided that the online account holder of the submission is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and all group members are affiliated with an accredited U.S. institution of higher education.

 Groups competing as a team do not need all members to be affiliated with the same institution of higher education.

Furthermore, all official team members must be currently affiliated with an accredited U.S. institution of higher education. Affiliation with an institution for the purposes of this prize competition is limited to (1)  Faculty associated with an institute who are currently teaching or part of active research (2) Students currently enrolled at an institution. 

Please see the official rules for full eligibility requirements.