05 Jun 2024

Occidental, Bhe Renewables Collaborate for Geothermal Lithium Extraction in California

05 Jun 2024   

Announcement of joint venture between BHE Renewables and OXY (source: OXY)
Hydrocarbon and petrochemical company Occidental Petroleum (OXY) has announced a joint venture with BHE Renewables, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, for the demonstration and deployment of TerraLithium’s Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) and associated technologies for the extraction and production of lithium compounds from geothermal brine.

TerraLithium, a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental, has patented DLE technologies that have the potential to process any lithium-containing brine into a responsibly sourced supply of high-purity lithium.

The joint venture has already begun a project at BHE Renewables’ Imperial Valley geothermal facility to demonstrate the feasibility of the TerraLithium DLE technology. BHE Renewables operates 10 geothermal power plants in California’s Imperial Valley, which process 50,000 gallons of lithium-rich brine per minute to produce 345 MW of clean energy.

Upon successful demonstration, BHE Renewables plans to build, own, and operate commercial lithium production facilities in California’s Imperial Valley. The joint venture also plans to license the technology and develop commercial lithium production facilities outside the Imperial Valley.

In 2021, BHE Renewables received a USD 15 million grant from the US Department of Energy to support its work in extracting lithium at the Salton Sea operations. The company is one of few players working on geothermal lithium extraction demonstration projects in the Imperial Valley.

“This joint venture with TerraLithium represents a significant advancement in BHE Renewables’ commitment to pursuing commercial lithium production that is environmentally safe, commercially viable and leads to good outcomes for the Imperial Valley community,” said Alicia Knapp, President and CEO of BHE Renewables. “We are excited to be working with Occidental on this incredible opportunity to make the Imperial Valley a global leader in lithium production.”

“By leveraging Occidental’s expertise in managing and processing brine in our oil and gas and chemicals businesses, combined with BHE Renewables’ deep knowledge in geothermal operations, we are uniquely positioned to advance a more sustainable form of lithium production,” said Richard Jackson, President, U.S. Onshore Resources and Carbon Management, Operations at Occidental.

“Creating a secure, reliable and domestic supply of high-purity lithium products to help meet growing global lithium demand is essential for the energy transition,” said Jeff Alvarez, President and General Manager of TerraLithium. “The partnership with BHE Renewables will enable the joint venture to accelerate the development of our Direct Lithium Extraction and associated technologies and advance them toward commercial lithium production.”


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