30 Sep '11, 3pm

Here’s a win-win: Geothermal power can make lithium for electric vehicles

Existing geothermal power plants are powered by a hot brine from deep within the earth's crust, which is just lousy with dissolved minerals -- literally "half the periodic table," reports Scientific American . One of those elements is lithium, which can be extracted from the geothermal fluid that existing power plants in California's Salton Sea are already pulling out of the ground. This is remarkable on many levels at once. 1. The world is desperately in need of more sources of the “rare earth” elements that are required to build advanced batteries and just about everything else in cleantech. 2. Usual hard-rock mining of lithium is terribly environmentally destructive, whereas this process isn't, because it relies on already-existing reservoirs of hot water to extract the mineral from rocks down below. 3. This process turns geothermal power, already an excellent source of...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/list/2011-09-30-heres-a-win-win-geot...

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