GM partners with Controlled Thermal Resource for sustainable, U.S.-Based Lithium Supply

July 2, 2021

General Motors announced that is has formed a strategic investment and commercial collaboration with Controlled Thermal Resources Limited, (CTR) for sustainably produced lithium from CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power development, located in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field in Imperial, CA, about 160 miles (258 km) southeast of Los Angeles.

GM will have first rights on lithium produced by the first stage of the project, including an option for a multiyear deal going forward if CTR’s extraction process proves successful.

A significant portion of GM's future battery-grade lithium hydroxide and carbonate could come from CTR's Hell's Kitchen development, allowing GM to make more affordable, higher mileage electric vehicles (EVs) with domestic, responsibly sourced lithium materials.

“By securing and localizing the lithium supply chain in the US, we’re helping ensure our ability to make powerful, affordable, high mileage EVs while also helping to mitigate environmental impact and bring more low-cost lithium to the market as a whole,” Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, global product development, purchasing and supply chain, said in the statement. 

CTR expects to commence delivery of lithium from its first stage facilities in 2024.

“We are very pleased to establish this strategic relationship with GM moving forward,” Rod Colwell, CTR’s Chief Executive Officer said in a statement. “GM has shown great initiative and a real forward-thinking strategy by securing and localizing a lithium supply chain while also considering the most effective methods to minimize environmental impacts.”

CTR’s lithium resource at the Salton Sea in California is one of the largest known lithium brine resources in North America. The integration of direct lithium extraction with renewable geothermal energy offers the highest sustainability credentials available today.

CTR’s closed-loop, direct lithium extraction process utilizes renewable power and steam – significantly reducing the time to produce battery-grade lithium products and eliminating the need for overseas processing. CTR’s operations will have a minimal physical footprint and a near-zero carbon footprint. The brine, after lithium extraction, is returned to the geothermal reservoir deep within the earth.

“World-wide growth in electric vehicle adoption has highlighted the critical need to develop a strong and secure battery supply chain in the United States,” Rod said. “CTR is fully committed to developing its significant lithium resource in response to this, and we look forward to collaborating with GM as we continue to accelerate these efforts.”



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