Hell’s Kitchen Integrated Lithium and Power Project

Producing the world’s most sustainable, battery-grade lithium products

Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) | Imperial Valley, California, USA | 2018-Ongoing

First-ever use of technology to extract lithium from geothermal brine

34,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate equivalent by 2027

100% renewable, baseload geothermal power

25% by weight of dissolved solids in the brine, one of the most challenging geothermal resources

Challenges

  • The rising demand for electric vehicles, means that the demand for electrical energy storage is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Lithium is a core element in the production of batteries, as a result, this project will help develop a competitive lithium economy locally in North America and supply battery value chains during this time.
  • The demand for renewable energy is on the rise, most renewable forms of energy are intermittent in nature, as a result require lithium-based batteries for operation. Supporting the renewables market, helps supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across numerous industries.
  • The Salton Sea geothermal field is the most technically challenging geothermal resource in the world. This high salinity geothermal brine is hyper corrosive to conventional carbon steel and will result in high rates of scale on surface equipment without proper design of both process and equipment.
  • Project involves the development of a high-temperature flash steam geothermal power plant that will integrate into a lithium extraction facility. The complex chemistry of the brine has to be controlled during flashing to minimize scaling and loss of minerals before the brine reaches the lithium extraction facility.

Solutions

  • Identified and utilized synergies between the lithium extraction process and the geothermal power process to minimize cost and maximize efficiency.
  • Utilized exotic material exotic corrosion resistant materials for brine handling and brine process, this includes, piping, pumps and vessels
  • Designed the power plant to employ crystallizer reactor clarifier technology, allowing the plant to flash superheated brine into steam while removing mainly precipitated silica, mitigating the risk of any scaling to develop in the vessels and piping.
  • Project support through various lithium extraction and power generation technology trade-off studies, laboratory test work, producing high level major equipment lists, as well as CAPEX and OPEX estimates and the development of report.
  • Completed preliminary economic assessment by developing a financial model that incorporated both the lithium and geothermal power production, including allocation of costs to generate power, lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

Highlights

  • The project will extract lithium from the geothermal brine to produce approximately 34,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and will generate 140 MW of geothermal power
  • Heat from the geothermal brines will flash steam to drive a steam turbine to generate electricity and power the lithium extraction process.
  • Minimized costs and maximized efficiency through identification of synergies between the lithium extraction process and the geothermal power process.
  • The lithium technology utilizes an ion exchange technique which is environmentally friendlier and yields lithium in a significantly short period of time.

“Hatch was instrumental in the successful delivery of this project. Their services were completed within the approved time-frame and budget. Furthermore, Hatch continues to maintain their professional support throughout the development of this project.”

Jason Czapla | Principal Engineer, Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR)

Project Numbers

34,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent
140 MW of geothermal power
US$1.8 billion project

Related Services & Technologies

Thermal Energy

Lithium

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