Lithium and Renewable Energy Powerfully Combined
This Controlled Thermal Resources profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*
Controlled Thermal Resources Ltd. (CTR) is a Public Unlisted lithium resource and renewable energy company advancing the Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power Project in Imperial Valley, California. At Hell’s Kitchen, CTR is developing a vertically-integrated lithium extraction and geothermal power facility within its leasehold on the Salton Sea Geothermal Field lithium brine resource. CTR is focused on delivering sustainable, battery-grade lithium products and renewable baseload power to support California’s clean energy mandates and to ensure a secure and reliable lithium supply chain in the US. The company has headquarters in both California and Brisbane, Australia.
Globally, attitudes toward energy-related resource extraction are evolving to better reflect climate change concerns and the demand for cleaner, greener products. Investors are increasingly looking at jurisdictions and energy resource projects that are aligned with environmental and socially responsible development.
Utilizing direct lithium extraction technology developed by Lilac Solutions; a technology company recently backed by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Controlled Thermal Resources is planning a staged path to production for battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide, and possible other lithium compounds for battery use.
The integration of lithium extraction and renewable energy provides further advantages to project economics and performance compared to stand-alone lithium facilities. In contrast to evaporation pond and hard rock mining, direct lithium extraction is a closed-loop system that returns spent brine to its original source; utilizes 100% renewable power and steam for processing; takes hours, not months to produce high purity lithium products; has a very small physical footprint and a close-to-zero carbon footprint; is not weather dependent or water intensive; doesn’t require open pit mines, large evaporation ponds or off-shore processing and; will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Controlled Thermal Resources anticipates commencement of commercial production at Hell’s Kitchen in 2023, positioning the company to take advantage of rising lithium demand in the face of forecasted supply shortfalls. The production of geothermal power at Hell’s Kitchen provides CTR the ability to participate in California’s growing renewable energy market. In January 2020, CTR announced it had entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Imperial Irrigation District (IID), the largest irrigation district in North America and the sixth-largest electrical utility in California.
With the assistance of engineering project partner Hatch Ltd., Controlled Thermal Resources completed its Canadian National Instrument 43- 101 (NI 43-101) Technical Report, and the accompanying Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA). Controlled Thermal Resources also has obtained the necessary permits to begin delineation drilling and pilot plant testing at Hell’s Kitchen. These activities are expected to begin shortly after the company secures remaining development funding for the project. CTR is seeking an equity investment of US$52 million to fund project development activities up to the completion of financial close for construction of the commercial facilities. Investors at the corporate level will retain an interest in potential future growth opportunities.
The management team of Controlled Thermal Resources has significant project delivery experience in the mineral, chemical and renewable energy sectors, including more than a quarter-century of experience in the development and operations of large-scale geothermal energy projects in the Salton Sea region.
Controlled Thermal Resources’ Company Highlights
- California location offers jurisdictional security in a stable US economy.
- Staged path to production, with initial Stage 1 delivery of 17,350 tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) and 140MW renewable power projected in 2023; Stage 2 delivery of an additional 17,350 tonnes LCE in 2025; and potential for Stage 3 delivery of 70,000 tonnes LCE by 2027.
- Eco-friendly, closed-loop, direct lithium extraction operation powered by 100 percent renewable energy production from thermal brine.
- Significant advantages over today’s primary sources of lithium production (conventional brine evaporation pond and hard rock mining),
- including small environmental footprint,
- onsite renewable energy,
- no off-shore processing,
- alignment with downstream customer sustainability
- Support by federal, state and local government agencies. SSGF is the largest known geothermal resource in the world.
- Surrounded by excellent infrastructure such as rail, interstate highways, and industrial water
- Fully permitted to drill delineation wells and commence pilot plant activities.
- Power Purchase Agreement secured with IID
- Proven management team with decades of experience in mineral, chemical and renewable energy industries, including in the SSGF region.
Key Markets: Lithium and Renewable Energy
Over the next decade, lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems are expected to play an increasingly significant role in providing power to transportation systems, homes, businesses, and economies worldwide. According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, global demand for lithium is expected to rise from 305,577 tonnes per annum LCE in 2018 to 1,350,000 tonnes per annum LCE by 2023. By 2030, demand for lithium is expected to surge to 2,200,000 tonnes per annum LCE.
California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard mandate calls for 50 percent clean energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045. To reach those goals, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has advised the state to significantly increase the ratio of geothermal power in its energy mix to ensure reliability and control costs.
Controlled Thermal Resources’ Hell’s Kitchen Lithium Project
Controlled Thermal Resources’ Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power Project covers 7,380 acres on the south-east shore of the world’s largest known geothermal resource, the Salton Sea Geothermal Field in Imperial Valley, California. The SSGF is a superheated, highly mineralized brine aquifer that is situated between approximately 4,000 feet and 9,000 feet below surface level. Unlike most other geothermal fields, the SSGF is a very homogeneous resource body.
Geothermal operations have been active in this field for over 35 years with 240 wells drilled, resulting in extensive resource delineation and well-established geothermal infrastructure. The SSGF has the potential to produce up to 2,950 megawatts and upwards of 15 million tonnes of LCE products. Key transportation and utilities-based infrastructure in the region include rail to the Port of Los Angeles and other U.S. locations, major interstate highways and access to water and grid power.
Established NI 43-101 Mineral Resource
The Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power Project hosts a NI 43-101 inferred lithium resource of approximately 2.7 million tonnes LCE, representing the first half of the Hell’s Kitchen land package. Additional mineral resources at Hell’s Kitchen include potassium, zinc, manganese, boron, strontium, rubidium and silica. CTR’s lease agreement allows for the extraction of all minerals contained in the thermal brine. The below excerpt representing 50% of the project’s lease holdings:
Lithium concentrations in the SSFG tend to increase from south to north and west to east. Field wide lithium concentrations range from a low of 160ppm to a high of 341ppm. CTR’s land package is strategically located in one of the most highly concentrated regions of the SSGF.
Proven direct lithium extraction technology
The Hell’s Kitchen project plans to use direct lithium extraction technology developed by Lilac Solutions to produce lithium from the thermal brine. Lilac Solutions’ ion exchange technology addresses the challenges associated with conventional evaporation ponds for lithium extraction from brines. Unlike traditional brine evaporation ponds, Lilac’s ion-exchange extraction method is not weather dependent, enabling operation 24 hours per day. By eliminating the need for evaporation ponds, CTR can produce the same amount of battery-grade LCE products in hours; a fraction of the time required by conventional production methods.
Lilac’s modular system allows for a streamlined process capable of yielding concentrated high-purity lithium solutions which provides the feed for the conventional production of battery-grade lithium carbonate and hydroxide chemicals.
PEA highlights strong project economics
The NI 43-101 compliant PEA completed by Hatch Ltd. indicates that the Lilac Solutions ion exchange technology powered by renewable thermal heat provides low capital and operating costs, accelerates project operations and boosts lithium recoveries from Salton Sea geothermal brine leading to strong project economics. According to the PEA, the integrated process will produce a sustainable source of lithium at estimated first quartile production costs.
Staged path to production of battery-grade lithium products
Hell’s Kitchen is expected to have a minimum 30-year life. Stage 1 of production is slated to begin in 2023, with a 17,350 tonnes LCE per annum lithium carbonate plant along with the generation of 140 megawatts of renewable energy from the geothermal power plant. Stage 2 is planned to begin in 2025 and is expected to produce 17,350 tonnes LCE per annum of lithium hydroxide. Stage 3 is planned to increase annual production to 70,000 tonnes LCE by 2027.
Drilling and pilot plant permits
Controlled Thermal Resources has worked with all relevant government, regulatory and environmental agencies to obtain the required permits for delineation drilling and to conduct lithium pilot operations. The delineation drilling process will commence shortly after the final round of development capital is secured.
Small environmental footprint
Direct lithium extraction from thermal brines represents a more environmentally friendly lithium production process when compared to the environmental impacts of traditional brine evaporation ponds and hard rock mining. Integrating geothermal renewable energy produced onsite into the Hell’s Kitchen lithium extraction project provides for an eco-friendly, closed-loop operation that fits well with the downstream battery and EV manufacturers’ requirements for sustainably sourced materials.
Renewable energy generated onsite
Stage 1 allocation of 140MW renewable power is as follows:
- ~95MW of electricity for sale to regional utilities
- ~35MW of steam provided to the lithium plants
- ~10MW of electricity consumed internally
The Hell’s Kitchen power purchase agreement with Imperial Irrigation District consists of a 25-year term to supply IID with 40 megawatts of renewable electrical energy. IID, a special government entity formed under California law, delivers Colorado River water and provides electrical power throughout the surrounding region. In addition, IID owns the land and mineral rights leased by Hell’s Kitchen.
“IID has long advocated for the development of renewable energy resources at the Salton Sea, for what it can do for the Valley and for what it can do for California,” said Henry Martinez, IID general manager. As the largest irrigation district in North America and the sixth-largest electrical utility in California, IID plays a significant role in other balancing authorities such as CAISO and APS in providing renewable electricity to the western United States.
Controlled Thermal Resources’ Management Team
Rod Colwell — CEO and Founding Director
Rod Colwell is a seasoned corporate executive specializing in property, geothermal, and minerals commercial development. He has driven all stages of project development including concept, feasibility, and commercial negotiations. His previous experience was in property, optimizing return on investment with an emphasis on prime site identification and asset value maximization. He has developed relationships with key stakeholders to ensure integrity, long-term growth, and project viability.
Jim Turner — COO and Director
Jim Turner has over 30 years of experience in senior management roles in the renewable energy and chemical industries. He served as Vice-President and General Manager at CalEnergy (now Berkshire Hathaway Energy). His prior roles include Sr. Vice-President of Operations at AltaRock Energy and Sr. Vice-President of Business Development at EnergySource. His early career was with The Dow Chemical Company in engineering and technology management, and environmental business development.
Kemsley Cross — Director
Kemsley Cross has been involved in the Property and Energy industries for over 40 years in both the public and private sectors. He was formerly the State Property Manager at Powerlink Queensland, a Government/Statutory Authority charged with operating Queensland’s high voltage electricity grid network. He is a specialist resumption/litigation rural and urban valuer and has appeared as an expert witness in various legal jurisdictions.
Nicholas Cavanagh — Director
Nicholas Cavanagh is the Managing Director of Cavanagh Bros Pty Ltd, an established transport operation based in Brisbane Australia. Since 2006, he has overseen the development of a number of industrial, commercial, and residential property developments.
David Jackson — Director
David Jackson has over 25 years of experience in finance, accounting and corporate advisory. His past positions include Finance Director at Morris International and Director at Grant Thornton. He is a commercial advisor for many successful Australian enterprises.
Milton Wood — Board Advisor
Milton Wood began his career in IT consulting, where he was recognized by Information Week as one of the top 50 Information Technology consultants in the USA. He is the President/Managing Partner at M. Wood Company and has over 45 years of experience in executive search and management consulting. Wood has been recognized with an honorary doctorate of law degree from Lincoln College.
The Hon. Julie Bishop — Special Advisor to the Board
The Hon. Julie Bishop served as the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 to 2018. She was Deputy Leader of the Australian Liberal Party from 2007 to 2018. Recently, she was announced as the next chancellor of the Australian National University, commencing in January 2020.
Jason Czapla — Principal Engineer
Jason Czapla is a mechanical engineer with over 15 years of experience in the resource sector. He has managed projects from conception through commissioning. He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Queensland and a Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University
*Disclaimer: Opportunities to invest in Controlled Thermal Resources is restricted to Institutional and Accredited/Sophisticated investors only. Parties may request an investor kit or contact CTR for further information.
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