News

Lithium player signs MOU to tap into Insheim geothermal operations in Germany

Geothermal power plant at Insheim, Germany (source: Pfalzwerke geofuture)
Alexander Richter 26 Nov 2019

German operator of the geothermal power plant at Insheim and lithium exploration company Vulcan Energy Resources to partner on extraction of lithium from geothermal brine in a feasibility study.

In a release today, Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd. announces the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfalzwerke geofuture GmbH, part of the German utility Pfalzwerke Group.

The MoU constitutes an initial collaboration period, during which Pfalzwerke geofuture will supply live brine and well data from its operational geothermal power plant, for Vulcan to use in its pre-feasibility study (PFS). A legal joint venture (JV) will then be established, under which Vulcan will earn up to 80% of the lithium rights at Insheim by completing a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for lithium extraction.

The Insheim plant is currently pumping lithium-rich brine to the surface for energy generation, but not processing and extracting the lithium, before the brine is reinjected into the reservoir. As part of this definitive feasibility study (DFS), Vulcan will construct and implement a demonstration plant at Insheim. Following completion of the DFS, Pfalzwerke geofuture can then choose to co-contribute to the construction of a commercial-scale lithium plant on site, or dilute interest to a royalty on lithium production.

Managing Director, Dr. Francis Wedin commented: “Partnering with the Pfalzwerke group, a well-respected German utility, is a transformational step for the company. It brings our goal of producing a Zero Carbon Lithium (TM) hydroxide product in Germany much closer to becoming a reality. We now have access to a lithium-rich, producing geothermal brine operation, so that feasibility studies and potentially first lithium production can be achieved in a much shorter timescale, without the immediate need to drill our own geothermal wells. We look forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with Pfalzwerke geofuture.”

Pfalzwerke geofuture GmbH is the owner-operator of the Insheim geothermal plant, which has been operating successfully for seven years. Pfalzwerke geofuture is 100%-owned by Pfalzwerke Gruppe.

The Insheim plant operates with a thermal water temperature of 165?C, producing a maximum of 4.8 MWel power and 10 MW thermal energy. The plant receives a feed-in-tariff of €0.25/kWh under the EEG (German Renewable Energy Act). The plant can supply around 8,000 households with electricity and 600-800 households with heat.

Source: Company release, for the full release click here (pdf)