CRM-geothermal: Raw materials from geothermal fluids: occurrence, enrichment, extraction
– about the project –
Geothermal fluids often carry high amounts of elements that the EU considers as ‘critical’ raw materials (CRM). Preliminary calculations show that even a single well has the potential to produce single-digit percentages of the EU needs. Combined extraction of heat and minerals maximises returns on investment, minimises environmental impact, requires no additional land use, leaves no mining legacies, has near-zero carbon footprint, and enables domestic supplies of CRM.
CRM–geothermal proposes the co-production of CRM and heat from geothermal reservoirs.
CRM-geothermal proposes the co-production of CRM and heat from geothermal reservoirs. It combines the benefits of CRM provision with exploiting a renewable energy source (subsurface heat) from geothermal fluids. This co-production also avoids visible large-scale installations above ground, such as open pits, tailings ponds, or extractive waste heaps. It has minimal environmental footprint, and positive social and economic impacts are expected. Therefore, it is excellently aligned with European geothermal development, where a “cascade of uses of geothermal fluids” maximises value chains and is an enabler towards a reduced dependence on fossil fuels.
HELMHOLTZ ZENTRUM POTSDAM DEUTSCHESGEOFORSCHUNGSZENTRUM GFZ
UNIVERSITY OF MISKOLC
INTERNATIONAL RAW MATERIALS OBSERVATORY AISBL
LA PALMA RESEARCH CENTRE SL
JACOBS UNIVERSITY BREMEN GGMBH
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PADOVA
DR. BRILL + PARTNER GMBH INSTITUT FUER HYGIENE UND MIKROBIOLOGIE
IZMIR INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
FEDERATION EUROPEENNE DES GEOLOGUES
VLAAMSE INSTELLING VOOR TECHNOLOGISCH ONDERZOEK N.V.
UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI ENTERPRISES AND SERVICES LIMITED
INLECOM INNOVATION ASTIKI MI KERDOSKOPIKI ETAIREIA
HYDROISOTOP GMBH LABORATORIUM ZUR BESTIMMUNG VON ISOTOPEN IN UMWELT UND HYDROLOGIE
NATURLICH INSHEIM GMBH
Levin Sources (LS)
Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL)
United Kingdom Research and Innovation / British Geological Survey (UKRI)
University of Neuchatel (UNINE)
Cornish Lithium (CL)
Screening and mapping of CRM content in geothermal settings
- To gain a broad qualitative and quantitative overview about the CRM content in geothermal fluids from various geological formations across Europe and East African Rift countries with different properties
- To make results widely available through a visualization platform (CRM-geothermal Fluid atlas).
Geological controls of CRM mobility, source and long-term sustainability in different geothermal settings
To obtain better knowledge of the geological and geochemical controls of CRM enrichment in geothermal environments.
To quantify the long-term sustainability of extraction of CRM.
To obtain better knowledge of the enrichment processes of CRM in scales from high enthalpy settings (Iceland and Turkey).
To obtain better knowledge of the enrichment processes and sustainability CRM extraction from low salinity, crystalline rocks (Cornwall, German sedimentary basin).
To quantify REE + Y enrichment in alkaline geothermal areas (brine or scale) and track their source.
To demonstrate potential economic sustainability of CRM extraction at the study sites before the brines become depleted.
Development and optimisation of extraction technologies for CRM from geothermal brines
- To develop technologies to extract CRM from geothermal brines that are effective, economically feasible and scalable without interfering with the heat extraction process, including
- To develop an adsorptive extraction by ion sieves and upscale the process for lithium
- To develop a Selective Ion exchange membrane technique for extraction of Li, Sr and Rb
- To develop a selective reversible adsorption by means of modified (bio-)polymers
- To develop an ion enrichment technology by bioextraction
Deployment of the combined extraction of CRM and energy from geothermal fluids
- To define the necessary framework-conditions (environmental, social, ethical, political, economic, legal) for combined extraction of CRMs and energy;
Testing, validation, integration (of design requirements, systems and components)
• To demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of the project concept at one major target sites.
• To demonstrate the applicability of the UNFC compliant reporting template, the appropriateness of the ESG impact assessments, and the workability of the digital economy tools