CalEnergy Operating Corporation (CalEnergy) will conduct a pilot test to demonstrate the feasibility of technologies to extract lithium from geothermal brine that is produced at its geothermal facilities. The technology proposed for testing will process 100 gallons per minute of geothermal brine. In the first phase of the lithium extraction process, referred to as the "pre-treatment" section of the unit, calcium hydroxide (which is already in use at the facility as lime) is used to condition brine prior to routing the brine to the lithium extraction process. The lithium extraction process then employs inert resin beads manufactured by Lilac Solutions to extract the lithium chloride from the brine. The lithium extraction unit uses hydrochloric acid (which is also currently used at the facility), along with power and water utilities, in order to accomplish the extraction process. After extraction of lithium chloride from the brine, the post-extraction brine streams are returned to the current brine processing system, which results in the test essentially being minor treatment of a small side-stream of brine.
The pilot project includes activities of taking geothermal brine and processing it for lithium extraction. These activities will not affect any functions of the geothermal plant. Also, the project will include basic data collection, research, experimental management, and resource evaluation activities, which should not result in major disturbance to environmental resources.
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