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Department of Energy Announces $12 Million to Help Expand Domestic Sources of Lithium

The U.S. Department of Energy recently issued a $12 million Funding Opportunity Announcement to support the extraction and conversion of lithium from geothermal brines to use in batteries for stationary storage and electric vehicles. 

This investment will support projects that strengthen and diversify the lithium supply chain—an important step on the path to achieving the Biden Administration’s goals of a net-zero clean energy economy by 2050 and 50% electric vehicle adoption by 2030.

"A strong, domestic supply chain for lithium is crucial for our nation’s clean energy economy," said Alejandro Moreno, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). "This investment will support projects working to ensure that we can produce the lithium we need for batteries for electric vehicles and the grid right here at home in a safe and sustainable way.”

Geothermal brines are a byproduct of clean, geothermal power that contain a host of minerals, including lithium. This funding opportunity will support technologies to directly extract battery-grade lithium from geothermal brines—providing a cost-effective, domestic source of this critical material.

The funding opportunity will focus on two topic areas:

  • Field Validation of Lithium Hydroxide Production from Geothermal Brines: pilot or demonstration projects to validate cost-effective, innovative lithium extraction and lithium hydroxide conversion technologies. Lithium hydroxide is used in the manufacture of lithium battery electrodes.
  • Applied Research & Development for Direct Lithium Extraction from Geothermal Brines: R&D projects to advance emerging direct lithium extraction process technologies to increase efficiency, reduce waste generation, and/or reduce cost.

These goals also align with DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Roadmap Challenge, the Federal Consortium on Advanced Batteries National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries, and the American Battery Materials Initiative.

This FOA and these initiatives all aim to provide energy storage to Americans, including for electric vehicles. This work will help address the climate crisis and support the nation’s transition to a clean energy economy.

The estimated period of performance for the award will be three years. Concept papers are due December 9, 2022, at 5 P.M. ET. Learn more about the FOA here.

This funding opportunity is led EERE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) and Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO).