GM taps geothermal lithium from the Salton Sea, California

GM taps geothermal lithium from the Salton Sea, California GM's Chevy Bolt electric car, San Francisco (source: flickr/ Gregory Varnum, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 2 Jul 2021

GM Secures Sustainable, U.S.-Based Lithium Supply in part from Controlled Thermal Resources for Next-Generation EV Batteries

Controlled Thermal Resources Limited (“CTR”) has formed a strategic investment and commercial collaboration with General Motors (“GM”) to supply the manufacturer with sustainably produced lithium from the company’s Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power development, located in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field in Imperial, California.

GM announced today, that a significant portion of GM’s future battery-grade lithium hydroxide and carbonate could come from CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen development, allowing GM to make more affordable, higher mileage electric vehicles (EVs) with domestic, responsibly sourced lithium materials.

GM also announced it is the first company to make a multi-million-dollar investment in CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen development and has secured first rights to purchase lithium produced from the first stage of the Hell’s Kitchen project, including an option for a multi-year relationship.

CTR expects to commence delivery of lithium from its first stage facilities in 2024.

“We are very pleased to establish this strategic relationship with GM moving forward,” said Rod Colwell, CTR’s Chief Executive Officer. “GM has shown great initiative and a real forward-thinking strategy by securing and localizing a lithium supply chain while also considering the most effective methods to minimize environmental impacts.”

CTR’s lithium resource at the Salton Sea in California is one of the largest known lithium brine resources in North America. The integration of direct lithium extraction with renewable geothermal energy offers the highest sustainability credentials available today.

CTR’s closed-loop, direct lithium extraction process utilizes renewable power and steam – significantly reducing the time to produce battery-grade lithium products and eliminating the need for overseas processing.  CTR’s operations will have a minimal physical footprint and a near-zero carbon footprint. The brine, after lithium extraction, is returned to the geothermal reservoir deep within the earth.

“World-wide growth in electric vehicle adoption has highlighted the critical need to develop a strong and secure battery supply chain in the United States,” Rod said. “CTR is fully committed to developing its significant lithium resource in response to this, and we look forward to collaborating with GM as we continue to accelerate these efforts.”

In a message via CTR’s newsletter, Rod Colwell further state that this is “a world-class collaboration with a world-leading automotive company and an incredibly important milestone for CTR. GM’s recognition today, along with its significant strategic investment is testament to the value and quality of the Hell’s Kitchen project.”

Source: Company release