CTR drilling

Drill rig at CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen project site in California’s Lithium Valley

IMPERIAL — Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) announced the commencement of the company’s drilling program, initiating stage one of the Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power project in Imperial, California, according to a press release.

Hell’s Kitchen is the first geothermal project to be built at the Salton Sea in 10 years and is the world’s first fully integrated, new geothermal-lithium facility to commence construction. Drilling of the first two wells represent an important milestone for the company and for Imperial County, where geothermal plants at the Salton Sea have produced around 450 megawatts of renewable energy for decades.

“We are very pleased to kick start our drilling program and we are on schedule to deliver the project’s first 50MW of baseload renewable power in late 2023 and an estimated 20,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide in 2024,” said CTR’s Chief Executive Officer, Rod Colwell.

“Our team utilized a detailed seismic survey completed in 2017 and existing well data to provide direction for the specific drill targets. We expect to reach target depths of approximately 8,000 feet for each well. We anticipate high brine flow rates and brine temperatures of 550-650 Fahrenheit. Each well is expected to produce clean, firm power for decades,” he said.

CTR’s operations and drilling teams have over 25 years of experience building and operating geothermal plants at the Salton Sea and the company’s engineering team has extensive, in-depth experience in extracting various minerals from Salton Sea brines.

After completion of the first two wells, the next step is brine testing in preparation for scale-up of power and lithium recovery from the geothermal brine and conversion to lithium hydroxide.

While CTR continues its construction program for stage one, the company’s engineering partner HATCH has advanced the engineering program for Hell’s Kitchen — stage two. “Our modular engineering design optimizes core project infrastructure allowing for faster scale-up of each project stage,” Rod said.

In addition to working closely with strategic investor General Motors, CTR continues to collaborate with the community, industry, and government to develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain and clean energy hub in the valley. CTR alone, expects to create an estimated 480 construction jobs and 930 project jobs for stages one and two at Hell’s Kitchen.

“Today, we are employing the best and the brightest talent from the oil, gas, and geothermal industries,” Rod said. “It’s quite a thing to see a drill rig, that’s usually deployed for extracting fossil fuels, hard at work drilling to deliver clean energy and green lithium.”

“This is the kind of sustainable future we’re working hard to achieve,” he said.

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