Technologies for Extracting Valuable Metals and Compounds from Geothermal Fluids Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Technologies for Extracting Valuable Metals and Compounds from Geothermal Fluids
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Enhanced Geothermal Systems Component Research and Development/Analysis
Project Type / Topic 2 Mineral Recovery from Geothermal Fluids
Project Description Developing techniques to profitably extract these valuable materials promises to create a new “geothermal mining” industry, which will be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than existing mining. This industry will be based in the U.S., which creates jobs and secures a domestic supply of strategic materials like lithium. It will also provide an additional revenue stream to geothermal power projects, improving economics and thereby enabling previously uneconomic projects, including those using enhanced geothermal techniques, which are even more expensive than conventional geothermal.
State California
Objectives Develop and validate improved lithium extraction technologies, to develop processes to transform the materials extracted by this process into saleable products (Li compounds, silica, iron silicate, lithium / manganese battery materials), and to develop technology to cost‐effectively extract additional materials (manganese, zinc, boron, potassium, cesium, and rubidium) from U.S. geothermal brines of varying salinity.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Simbol Mining Corp.
Awardee Website

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000075
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $3,000,000.00
Awardee Cost Share $4,277,162.00
Total Project Cost $7,277,162.00

Principal Investigator(s) Stephen Harrison

Targets / Milestones - Develop and test candidate techniques for the various processes in the lab and evaluate their effectiveness.

- Further test the most promising approaches in a lab‐scale pilot and then in a field pilot using live geothermal brines. Candidate techniques for materials extraction and purification include ion exchange, solvent extraction, precipitation, and electrowinning.
- Characterize the efficiency and cost of each process and compare that with the market value of the product to understand the commercial viability.
- Create project reports that include results.

Location of Project Pleasanton, CA, Albuquerque, NM, Sacramento, CA, Calipatria, CA
, , , 33.1256°, -115.5142°

Impacts If successful, could create a new “geothermal mining” industry which would be more environmental friendly than existing mining. Has the potential of extracting large quantities of lithium from geothermal brines. Adding 0.5 cents per kWh or more to plant revenue.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs