Turkey’s geothermal sector hopeful it can contribute lithium to national car industry

Turkey’s geothermal sector hopeful it can contribute lithium to national car industry Kizildere geothermal power plant, Turkey (source: Zorlu Energy, video screenshot)
Alexander Richter 8 Nov 2020

The Turkish geothermal sector sees great opportunities in deriving lithium from geothermal brines produced at geothermal power plants in Turkey. This could contribute to the national car manufacturing sector in the country.

With the increased interest and demand for Lithium carbonates, efforts to derive Lithium from geothermal brine are being made in California in the U.S., in Cornwall/ UK, Upper Rhine Valley in Germany and France. Turkey wants to join the  ranks as well, as was reported earlier this summer by Anadolu  Agency (AA).

In an interview with AA, Ufuk Sentürk, the President of Turkey’s Geothermal Electricity Power Plant Investors Association (JESDER), describes that geothermal power plants in Turkey  could be in  a position to  produce up to 17,000 metric tones of lithium. With  that it could play an important role in the supply of lithium used for  batteries in electric cars.

Turkey has been home to several major car manufacturers, among cars built in the country are cars by Toyota, Renault, Fiat Chrysler, Ford and Hyundai. The  country is also pushing for the development and manufacturing of its first domestic and fully electric car project with local energy storage technologies. Deriving lithium from local geothermal operations clearly could greatly contribute to these efforts, so Sentürk.

Lithium and other rare metals, such  as manganese and zinc could be extracted from geothermal brine of geothermal operations in the country. The location and actual composition of the fluids depends though largely on the location of the plants.

“Turkey’s lithium reserves rank 25th in the world and we are ready to give any kind of support for the extraction of these reserves,” he said.

The country’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has established a facility to produce lithium out of liquid waste from boron mines refineries. Production of lithium carbonate is expected to begin at the facility as of the end of this year.

Turkey’s official mining company, Eti Maden, has developed the new production method and has produced lithium carbonate and commercial boron products by going beyond traditional methods with its research and development (R&D) studies spanning three years.

In order to use this technology, the ministry agreed to commission a facility with an annual lithium production capacity of 10 tons soon. How far then geothermal can contribute will have to be seen.

Source: Daily Sabah