Lithium Valley Developments 2023: Controlled Thermal Sources and others Make Progress

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Jan 23, 2023


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  • CTR’s (Controlled Thermal Resources Inc.) lithium optimization plant has used an integrated design approach and optimized several process steps to recover lithium in real-time.
  • CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen project has plans for job opportunities and co-locating battery factories in Imperial County. 
  • The Lithium Valley Commission has released a draft report that acknowledges concerns about the impact of lithium projects on the community and the environment.

Integrated Design Approach for Lithium Recovery

CTR’s lithium optimization plant’s engineering team has optimized several process steps, including the brine preparation stage, to enable real-time effective lithium recovery from the business’s live Salton Sea geothermal brine resource. CTR used an integrated design approach to recover lithium, and its team completed the project ahead of schedule with outstanding results.

For a few more months, the factory will be operational. They also plan to adapt the plant to maximize the recovery of other essential minerals, such as manganese.

Read: Profiling Clean Energy Campus by Controlled Thermal Resources

Construction and Supply Predictions

This year is scheduled to see Hell’s Kitchen Stage 1 construction start, with the supply of 49.9 MW of reliable, clean electricity and 25,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide predicted for 2024. The combined resource of CTR can generate 1,100MW of clean energy and 300,000 tonnes of goods equivalent to lithium carbonate.

Lithium Valley Commission Report on Lithium Extraction

The Lithium Valley Commission, a state-sponsored panel, has released a draft report with 44 recommendations for market opportunities, environmental standards, workforce and infrastructure development, and funding for continuing tribal engagement. 

The panel reviewed, looked into, and analyzed particular subjects related to lithium extraction in California. The commission also had to submit a report to the legislature that included its conclusions and any recommendations it came up with due to the critical review and analysis.

The Lithium Valley Commission was given eight themes, and the report covered each. The following are the report’s core conclusions:

  • Lithium is a crucial component in lithium-ion batteries, which have a large energy capacity for storing and discharging. 
  • Lithium is a crucial mineral significant to national security and economic development due to the huge demand for and reliance on lithium-ion batteries in the United States and throughout the world.
  • The Salton Sea KGRA is thought to hold the world’s largest lithium reserves in geothermal brines.
  • Hard rock mining and evaporation ponds are the two most common commercial ways to get lithium.
  • DLE (Direct Lithium Extraction) is intended to be a more sustainable method of recovering lithium.

Read the complete report review here. 

CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen: Job Opportunities and Challenges in Imperial County

CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen site has signed a project labor agreement to ensure quality jobs. Still, the number of workers at the site is low. CTR hopes to co-locate battery factories in Imperial County to be closer to lithium and create more job opportunities. 

In April, CTR signed an agreement with an Italian firm, Statevolt, to locate a battery factory on its site that could create 1,000 jobs for extraction and new geothermal. 

Yet, there may be challenges, such as a need for more available housing in the county and poor residents being priced out by incoming workers. 

The lithium industry’s tax revenue from job growth could help the county. Still, the companies do not support a flat fee per metric ton. They prefer a percentage royalty like what’s imposed on the oil and gas industry. 

Read More: Hell’s Kitchen Integrated Lithium and Power Project: Investors Flock to California’s Lithium Valley

Wrap Up!

In conclusion, Controlled Thermal Resources Inc. (CTR) has developed an integrated design approach for lithium recovery at its optimization plant, which has optimized several process steps to recover lithium in real-time. The company has plans to adapt the plant to maximize the recovery of other minerals, such as manganese. 

It is developing a modular engineering framework to scale up. CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen project will supply 49.9 MW of reliable, clean electricity and 25,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide by 2024. But, the project also faces housing availability and resource management challenges.


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