A relatively rare element, lithium is a soft, light metal, found in rocks and subsurface fluids called brines. It is the major ingredient in the rechargeable batteries found in your phone, hybrid cars, electric bikes, and even large, grid-scale storage batteries.
As a “critical mineral” necessary for rechargeable electric batteries, lithium has been identified as a material essential to the economic or national security of the United States. Researchers have been exploring how geothermal brines brought up to the Earth’s surface as part of geothermal power production may also be a critical resource for future lithium supply.
Lithium Deep Dives
Because of the critical importance of lithium, the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) is investing in research and development to support lithium extraction from geothermal brines in a variety of ways—and federal investment doesn’t stop there.
Explore the many resources available on lithium below.
- Geothermal Lithium StoryMap
- Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize
- Fact Sheet: Identifying Geothermal Resources in Western United States
- Blog: Geothermal Energy and the Lithium Shortfall
- Blog: Lithium Valley: Powering Our Clean Energy Transition
Department of Energy Resources
- Alternative Fuels Data Center
- American-Made Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize
- How Lithium-ion Batteries Work
- Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub
- National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries
- Vehicle Technologies Office—Batteries
Lithium in the News
Lithium extraction projects are part of GTO’s Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) program. Learn more about other EGS efforts and GTO priorities.
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