A team of geothermal project developers aim to construct and operate the largest geothermal power plant in California’s Imperial Valley. An equally experienced team is planning the engineering, construction and operation of a companion plant that will use a proprietary carbon-dioxide-negative technology to recover minerals from the geothermal plant’s brine before it is reinjected into the reservoir. Operating together, the plants will compose a CO2-negative, renewable-energy power producer.
Controlled Thermal Resources US Inc. is developing the Hell’s Kitchen Geothermal project on the southeast shore of the Salton Sea, drawing on “a very robust resource,” says Jim Turner, business development manager. Being developed now for an estimated cost of more than $500 million, the first phase will consist of a pair of three-inlet, 140-MW (gross) turbines. Following completion and commissioning of phase one, a twin plant will be built adjacent, with a planned third on the 1,880-acre leasehold. The total cost of the 750-MW (net) development will be less than $1 billion, Turner says.
Alger Alternative Energy LLC will construct the companion plant in an integrated plan with the geothermal project, says Tracy Sizemore, CEO. It will produce 60,000 tonnes a year of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. Total estimated cost for this plant is $1 billion.
The Hell’s Kitchen project will be the largest in the Salton Sea area, where 11 other plants, totaling 450 MW, have been built. Most are under 50 MW, Turner says. Controlled Thermal is “anticipating a fully wrapped EPC” and is in discussions with more than one company, he adds. Slated to start in June 2019, construction will last 24 months.
Alger’s project also will take 24 months to build but will be in production by 2019, Sizemore says. Preliminary design is completed, and NCK Inc. has been selected as EPC contractor, he says. With strong lithium-industry credentials, Hatch will assist with engineering. Sizemore says he has “built the team around people. This is not their first time doing this. They’ve all participated in these types of operations.”