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Low Temperature Geothermal Mineral Recovery Program

Open Date: 02/04/2014

Close Date: 05/02/2014

Funding Organization: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Funding Number: DE-FOA-0001016


While geothermal power is an attractive potential source for sustainable energy production, the high heat temperature requirements (typically >150 degrees C) of most geothermal capture systems constrain geographic distribution and economic viability of geothermal energy production. Advancement of strategic material or mineral recovery aims to address this limitation. By partnering with geothermal and mineral industry stakeholders to develop additional revenue streams from brines, the economic viability of geothermal projects will increase while also allowing for increased geographic diversity of this clean, round-the-clock energy source. Rare earths and strategic minerals are essential for modern industry, especially clean-energy technologies, but are subject to supply risk in the face of ever-increasing demand. As an example, consumer uses of lithium batteries have soared over the last decade, powering everything from electric cars to tablets to cell phones. Global demand for lithium carbonate is expected to exceed 250,000 tons by 2017 - a 60% increase over current usage. As demand grows in this burgeoning market, a reliable supply of critical materials for advanced manufacturing technologies is a growing concern. This program aims to help alleviate this type of supply bottleneck. The Energy Department seeks up to ten 1-2 year feasibility and/or applied R&D projects that will lead to commercialized technologies. Geothermal mining of rare earth and near-critical metals are the focus of this research, with the intent to effectively lower the cost of geothermal energy production while diversifying and stabilizing the supply of critical materials for domestic industries. The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. EERE supports innovative technologies that reduce both risk and costs of bringing geothermal power online. Learn more about the Department's efforts to develop geothermal energy.

For more information, see the full solicitation.

Last updated: 02/06/2014

Funding amounts and schedules are subject to change.