June 22, 2023

Experts on lithium mining and lithium practical applications

Jordan Cornet
Author: Jordan Cornet
June 22, 2023

Experts on lithium mining and practical applications

For fast access to experts, email news@ucr.edu


Arun S.K. Raju, associate research engineer
Arun Raju is a leading expert in sustainable fuels and energy systems. With a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UC Riverside, Raju focuses on the production and utilization of sustainable fuels like hydrogen, renewable natural gas, and biomass to energy. His current research involves the environmentally responsible recovery of lithium from the Salton Sea geothermal brine. His work focuses on understanding the environmental and life cycle impacts of lithium recovery while optimizing systems integration. Additionally, he is actively involved in establishing an eco-manufacturing hub in the Imperial Valley. This hub aims to combine lithium recovery, battery manufacturing, and renewable energy, with a specific emphasis on hydrogen. The envisioned hub has the potential to deliver positive impacts on climate, air quality, and the local and state economy.
Contact: arunsk.raju@ucr.edu

Micheal A. McKibben, associate professor emeritus of geology  

McKibben is a geochemist and economic geologist at UC Riverside who studies mineral and energy resources.  He completed his earliest graduate work on metallic mineralization in the Salton Sea geothermal field in the 1970s and was involved in deep scientific drilling and research in the geothermal field in the 1980s and '90s. He was a consultant on early zinc and lithium extraction projects in the geothermal field in the 2000s. McKibben retired in 2021 but was recalled part-time as a UCR research professor in 2022 to work on assessing Salton Sea geothermal lithium resources with colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory for a Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored task force.  He also serves as a technical advisor to the geothermal industry on their Li extraction efforts and is a member of a Cornell-Utah-UCR research group competing as one of five finalists for the DOE's $4 million Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize. He was also recently placed on a national panel assembled by NAS/GAO to assess “recovery of critical minerals from nontraditional sources”. He has been interviewed about geothermal Li by NPR, PBS, NBC, CNN, CBS, VOA, the Wall Street Journal and Scientific American.
Contact: michael.mckibben@ucr.edu