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Challenge BRINEMINE – Extracting Lithium and Other Valuable Minerals from Geothermal Brines

BRINEMINE – Extracting Lithium and Other Valuable Minerals from Geothermal Brines

Award: $30,000 USD
STATUS: Under Eval
Posted: Nov 25 2019
Challenge ID: 9934152
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Enel is seeking novel methods to economically extract lithium and other minerals from brines produced in geothermal power plants.

This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and experimental proof-of-concept data.


The global demand for lithium salts, the raw material for lithium-ion batteries, has increased significantly in recent years as a result of technological advancements in electronic devices and electric cars requiring high energy-density batteries. Traditional sources of lithium are quickly being depleted and alternative supplies must be explored. One potential source is the fluid used in geothermal power plants, known as geothermal brine, but extraction of lithium from such fluids has proven challenging due to several factors including the presence of other salts in the brine (that can be valuable as well). Enel is looking for novel methods and technologies to economically extract lithium and other valuable minerals.

This Challenge will be run in two phases. Enel will evaluate submissions to this first phase and choose the top Solvers to be invited to participate in the second phase. Solvers invited for the second phase will be required to sign and return a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) as well as provide proof of identity in order to participate in phase 2 of the Challenge. The deadline for phase 1 is 11:59 PM (Central European Time) December 31, 2019. Detailed information regarding the deadline and additional requirements for phase 2 will be provided to the invited Solvers who return the requested documentation.

This Challenge provides contribution to the following SDG:

•             SDG 6, 9, 12 and 15

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This is a Reduction-to-Practice (RTP) Challenge that requires written documentation and experimental proof-of-concept data. The Challenge award is $30,000 for meeting phase 2 Technical Requirements and it will be contingent upon RTP evaluation of the submissions by the Seeker.

To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer the exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solver will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions.

The final award for this Challenge is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the verification process, including acceptance of the Challenge-Specific Agreement (CSA) that is the regulation for this Challenge. The verification process includes obtaining the following from the Solver: signed affidavit (based on the CSA), employee waiver (if applicable), and proof of identify.

Submissions to phase 1 of this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on December 31, 2019. Late submissions will not be considered.




With a presence in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, Enel Green Power is a global leader in the green energy sector*, with an annual production of approximately 108 TWh**. Enel Green Power operates in 29 countries and has a managed capacity of over 43 GW (including over 39 GW of installed capacity); with more than 1200 plants and a generation mix that includes the main renewable sources: wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal power. An additional 7.8 GW of capacity is scheduled to be built by 2020. Technological and geographical diversification are the main pillars of the company’s development strategy, which focuses its investments in growing markets characterized by an excellent availability of natural resources, strong energy demand growth rates and a stable socioeconomic situation. Enel Green Power has promoted an increasing incorporation of sustainability into its strategic vision, with the goal of increasing the benefits for the local communities where the company is active. The company has shifted from a reactive to a more proactive approach to critical issues, aimed at identifying opportunities for Creating Shared Value together with local communities. Enel Green Power believes that renewable energies are an important tool for promoting the competitiveness of the countries’ production industry and for guaranteeing the security of energy supplies: indeed, energy production from green sources contributes to creating greater energy autonomy and, at the same time, it helps protect the environment.

Thanks to its research, technological innovation, internationally-renowned operational excellence, and the hard work of almost 7600 people, Enel Green Power looks to the future fully aware of its potential for growth, both in terms of its size and operational performance. Enel Green Power invests in new businesses and technologies so as to improve its flexibility and performance, such as the integration of storage systems into renewable plants and the combination of technologies using different sources in the same plant (hybridization). The company is eager to step into new markets, as demonstrated by its recent entry into the markets of Zambia, Indonesia, Germany, Russia, Australia and Ethiopia, positioning itself as one of the main players in these areas that represent a strong potential for growth.

With its international experience, Enel Green Power also develops custom projects to offer companies the best solutions when it comes to energy generated by renewable sources. Clean energy and sustainable projects, competitive costs and tailor-made solutions are the main benefits of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), tools capable of building strong, long-lasting partnerships with business and industrial clients. Enel Green Power is also one of the founding members of RES4Africa Foundation, the association founded in 2012 to promote renewable energies and the spread of know-how on the African continent.

*In terms of installed capacity of private operators.

** Data at 31 December 2018.

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