LA TIMES: California's Salton Sea has enough lithium to power 382 million EVs

A new study funded by the US Department of Energy says the Salton Sea has much more lithium than originally thought.

LA TIMES: California's Salton Sea has enough lithium to power 382 million EVs
Photo by Jeffrey Clayton on Unsplash

Researchers are saying that California's Salton Sea has much more lithium than previously thought. According to this LA Times article, the underground brine beneath the lake contains 18 million metric tons of the valuable metal, which is enough to potentially power 382 million EV batteries – and that it can be extracted in a relatively environmentally friendly way.

Sounds like a number of companies are racing to make that happen but none of them have developed the technology and infrastructure to do it profitably yet.

This LA Times article seems to provide a good overview of the possibilities and challenges associated with this massive lithium reserve. I especially appreciated this part:

The Imperial Valley is far from the only place where the silvery white metal can be found. But extraction efforts in other parts of the country — such as Nevada’s Thacker Pass and Utah’s Great Salt Lake — have faced pushback from conservation activists and Native American tribes over their potential to destroy wildlife habitat, gobble up scarce water and desecrate sacred sites.

At the Salton Sea, environmental experts have found relatively little to worry about.

“Across the board, it’s a much more environmentally friendly way to extract lithium,” Prisjatschew said.

You can read the LA Times article here.

(If it's behind a paywall for you, here's an Electrek article and a local KTLA 5 News article that also cover the new study.)

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