"Want to produce a huge amount of lithium for electric vehicle batteries — and also batteries that keep our homes powered after sundown — without causing the environmental destruction that lithium extraction often entails?
Then the Salton Sea may be your jam.
Companies big and small have been swarming California’s largest lake for years, trying to find a cost-effective way to pull out the lithium dissolved in scorching hot fluid deep beneath the lake’s southern end. Now a new federal analysis suggests even more of the valuable metal is buried down there than we previously understood.
The new analysis — led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and reported here for the first time — finds we may be able to extract 18 million metric tons of “white gold” from the heated underground pool, which is not connected to the surface lake. That’s the first thoroughly documented public estimate of how much lithium is available at the Salton Sea, said Alex Prisjatschew, an engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy, which funded the analysis — and it’s higher than past guesses."