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Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize

The American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize is designed to find solutions that de-risk and increase market viability for direct lithium extraction (DLE) from geothermal brines. Advancement of DLE technologies allow for improved methods that lower costs, lessen environmental impact, and further the mission to turn the threat of climate change into an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. energy and critical materials supply chain.

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The Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize

Lithium is a major component of high-charge-density batteries for electric vehicles and grid-scale electricity storage. It is expected that global demand for lithium will increase by 500% by 2050 due to widespread adoption of electric vehicles and grid-scale battery storage, making lithium supplies a crucial element in the clean energy supply chain.

The current U.S. lithium stock is almost entirely imported, with only 1% of U.S. lithium supply being sourced domestically. Traditional sources of lithium are environmentally destructive and cost prohibitive due to the complexity of the extraction process. The combination of rapidly expanding global demand and lack of a secure domestic supply has created an urgency to develop a safe, domestic, and cost-competitive source of lithium. Advancements in domestic geothermal lithium extraction will also help ensure American leadership in the transition to a carbon-free economy and clean energy job creation throughout domestic supply chain.

A split image, one the left side a pair of researchers, one female and one male, are working with advanced equipment in a laboratory. On the right side, a photo of a geothermal spring at dusk, with steam rising and a flock of birds both flying and resting in the spring water.

Prize Structure

The Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize consists of three phases that will fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions to improve the profitability of DLE from geothermal brines. Each stage will include a contest period when participants work to rapidly advance their solutions.

Graphic of the American-Made Challenges Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize framework; Idea & Concept, Design & Invent, Fabricate & Test.

Important Dates

  • Phase 1: Idea & Concept
    • Phase 1 submission opens: April 1, 2021
    • Phase 1 submission deadline: September 2, 2021 5 p.m. ET
    • Phase 1 semifinalists announced and Phase 2 begins: November 4, 2021
  • Phase 2: Design & Invent
    • Phase 2 submission opens: November 4, 2021
    • Phase 2 virtual Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) shark tank tank: Week of March 28, 2022
    • Phase 2 submission deadline: April 29, 2022
    • Phase 2 finalists announced and Phase 3 begins: July 13, 2022
  • Phase 3: Fabricate & Test
    • Phase 3 opens: July 13, 2022
    • Phase 3 submission deadline: July 3, 2023
    • Phase 3 winners announced: September 19, 2023

All dates are subject to change including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements. Sign up for updates on our HeroX challenge page.


Solutions that help shape the future

Are you a thinker, entrepreneur, facility or potential partner? Anyone with an innovative idea can help promote transformation by participating in the American-Made Challenges.

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