About 40 miles north of the California-Mexico border lies the shrinking, landlocked lake known as the Salton Sea. Once the epicenter of a thriving resort community, water contamination and decades of drought have contributed to a collapse of the lake’s once vibrant ecosystem, and given rise to ghost towns.
But amidst this environmental disaster, the California Energy Commission estimates that there’s enough lithium here to meet all of the United States’ projected future demand, and 40% of the entire world’s demand. That’s big news for the booming electric vehicle industry, as lithium is the common denominator across all types of EV batteries.
Traditionally, lithium extraction involves…