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Salton Sea, source of easy lithium, and geothermal energy


TheVat
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https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/11/business/salton-sea-lithium-extraction/index.html

Superheated brine provides easily extractable lithium to help the production of batteries for the many electric cars we need to meet future goals of carbon neutrality.  The sea is a geologically interesting location, where two crustal plates grind past each other.

So you get both geothermal energy (one of the world's largest geothermal fields) and future electric cars....from one puddle of hot brine.  Beautiful.

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, TheVat said:

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/11/business/salton-sea-lithium-extraction/index.html

Superheated brine provides easily extractable lithium to help the production of batteries for the many electric cars we need to meet future goals of carbon neutrality.  The sea is a geologically interesting location, where two crustal plates grind past each other.

So you get both geothermal energy (one of the world's largest geothermal fields) and future electric cars....from one puddle of hot brine.  Beautiful.

 

Interesting. It seems to have quite a lot in common with the Dead Sea. Though I'm not sure whether there are geothermal springs there. 

What I also found interesting was to read that much of the world's lithium for batteries comes from a spodumene mine in Australia. Spodumene, apparently, is an igneous pyroxene mineral with formula LiAl(SiO3)2, (i.e. 2 silicate tetrahedra with one shared edge).  Other sources - or potential sources - are brines in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.

So at least the world is not currently dependent on China or Russia for it.

Furthermore it occurred to me that perhaps it could be a good mineral money-spinner for Australia, which might help some of their (numerous) dinosaur politicians to get their heads round the need to stop extracting coal.

But more diversified sources would certainly seem prudent, given the difficulty in replacing Li in battery technology.  Li seems unique in this role. I imagine this will be due to the small size of the Li+ ion (only the 1s shell is filled) allowing it to form intercalated compounds with carbon, CoO2 etc, reversibly. 

Edited by exchemist
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