Selective Recovery of Critical Materials From Geothermal Fluid
Company Name: Anactisis, LLC
Program Office: Geothermal
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Email: Athanasios Karamalidis, Ph.D. CEO and co-Founder firstname.lastname@example.org
Award Amount: $100,000
Project Term: 12 months
Project Status: Active
Participating Lab(s): Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Geothermal power plants tap into underground reservoirs of hot water to power turbines. The water pumped through these systems is often briny, picking up salts from rocks along the way. The fluids also contain valuable minerals that dissolve in geothermal brines, including the rare earth elements.
A limited supply chain for rare earth elements currently creates a lack of resiliency in relevant markets. Dysprosium, for instance, is used to manufacture lasers and commercial lighting. Development of a domestic source of rare earth elements would mitigate the risk inherent with a limited supply chain. Economically-viable technologies for the extraction of these elements and other critical materials from unconventional sources, including geothermal fluids, has great potential value to improve the operating economies of industrial-scale energy production, generate a consistent domestic supply of materials critical to green energy and defense technologies, and foster new alternative energy equipment manufacturing markets in the United States.
The Anactisis team seeks to develop a composite material that blends a physically and chemically robust but inert solid support with a reactive, functional polymer. The Chemical Separations and Chemical Sciences Divisions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is well equipped to expedite the development of this solution in collaboration with Anactisis.
PROJECT INNOVATION + ADVANTAGES
The Anactisis proprietary selective polymers technology represents a targeted approach to dissolved metal separations, achieving selectivity by discriminating on a maximal number of physio-chemical properties of the target elements. This technology is believed to be one key to extracting rare earth elements from geothermal fluids and could have wider applications to other extractive tasks. If perfected, this technology could complement burgeoning geothermal development domestically and globally.
The successful completion of this project would improve the operating economics of clean geothermal energy resources.
The project will have an environmental advantage by offsetting traditional mining operations and their associated impacts. This will include partially circumventing traditional, hard-rock mining as well as subsequent, chemically-intensive leaching procedures. In addition, this technology can significantly reduce the overall number of steps for recovery of the rare earth elements from the feedstock.
Increasing the number of suppliers of rare earth elements would make the United States less dependent on global supplies and imports.
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