American-Made Challenges

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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.
stage:
Phase 1 Informational Webinar
prize:
$4 Million Total Prize Pool
Overview

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.  

 

 

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 3

Challenge Updates

Watch the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Informational Webinar Recording Now

April 14, 2021, 1:37 p.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Did you miss the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Informational Webinar on April 12? Don’t worry—you can now stream the webinar recording to learn more about the prize and how you can compete.

Remember, Phase 1: Idea & Concept, closes on July 2 at 5 p.m. ET. We encourage you to review the rules and submit questions to the HeroX forum or


Reminder: Join the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Informational Webinar Today!

April 12, 2021, 6 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Join the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for an informational webinar on the newly announced American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize

The 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 cost, lessen environmental impact and further the mission to turn the threat of climate change into an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. energy and critical materials supply chain. Participants compete in three escalating challenges that fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions for an opportunity to win a portion of the $4 million cash prize pool. 

The informational webinar is today (4/12) at 1 p.m. ET. This is your opportunity to ask questions and learn more about how your technical solutions can increase the domestic supply of lithium.

Interested in competing or learning more? It's not too late to register now for the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Informational Webinar!


You’re Invited! Join the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Informational Webinar on April 12

April 8, 2021, 3:25 p.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Join the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for an informational webinar on the newly announced American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize

The 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 cost, lessen environmental impact and further the mission to turn the threat of climate change into an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. energy and critical materials supply chain. Participants compete in three escalating challenges that fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions for an opportunity to win a portion of the $4 million cash prize pool. 

The informational webinar is on Monday, April 12, at 1 p.m. ET. This is your opportunity to ask questions and learn more about how your technical solutions can increase the domestic supply of lithium.

Interested in competing or learning more? Register now for the Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize Informational Webinar!


Forum 2
Teams 35
Resources
FAQ

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.

https://americanmadechallenges.org/power_connectors

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  GeoLithiumExtraction@nrel.gov

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.

Yes. 

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.

Please see the official rules for full eligibility requirements.