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Maximizing Geothermal Resources: Innovative Lithium Extraction for Energy Transition and Reduced Dependency in the EU.

Lithium is a critical raw material for the EU, being strategic for the energy transition, especially for battery production. Solutions are needed to reduce the EU dependency on the whole value chain and the geopolitical risks associated with the growing Li demand in a concentrated market. The deep geothermal reservoir in the Upper Rhine Graben (URG) along the German-French border not only show good conditions for direct energetic use but also high Li contents (160-200 mg/L). In this context, the deep geothermal reservoir has generally very similar geothermal and hydrochemical characteristics. An innovative lithium extraction process developed on Argentine brines by ERAMET and IFPEN was therefore installed directly on an extraction unit at the reinjection branch of an existing geothermal plant in the ORG. In the course of pilot-scale tests, the possibility of extracting lithium from geothermal brine was demonstrated in early 2021 in collaboration with Electricité de Strasbourg in the frame of the EUGELI project.
The extent to which lithium extraction can maximize the utilization of geothermal resources by combining lithium extraction with electricity and/or heat production via a single well will be shown in this poster presentation at an economic sensitivity assessment by evaluating the various key parameters and then subjecting them to a specific variation. Ultimately, this combined use of geothermal resources at an existing facility will demonstrate the extent to which environmental and social impacts can be avoided compared to conventional mining, or conventional brine lithium production.


Detlev Rettenmaier1, Roman Zorn1, Elodie Jeandel1
1EIfER Europäisches Institut für Energieforschung, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023