Press Release: Vulcan Energie Ressourcen GmbH, winner of the Ruggero Bertani European Geothermal Innovation Award 2024


  • PUBLISHED: March 1, 2024

Offenburg, 1st March 2024 – EGEC is thrilled to announce Vulcan Energie Ressourcen GmbH as the recipient of the prestigious Ruggero Bertani European Geothermal Innovation Award 2024. The award recognises Vulcan Energie Ressourcen GmbH’s innovative project, the Lithium Extraction Optimization Plant (LEOP) from geothermal, designed to revolutionise the production of sustainable lithium in Europe.

Miklos Antics, Horst Kreuter and Frank Thieme. Source: EGEC.

Introducing the Lithium Extraction Optimization Plant (LEOP) from geothermal

LEOP stands as a pioneering initiative, marking the first production unit to extract lithium from geothermal, in a green manner. This innovative plant, inaugurated in 2023, situated in Europe, achieves a TRL of 7/8, enabling large-scale production of lithium chloride (LiCl) from geothermal brine, with an impressive annual output of 40 tons of green lithium hydroxide. LEOP has the capacity to fuel the creation of approximately 850 electric car batteries annually.

The innovation of LEOP extends beyond its production capabilities. It boasts a climate-neutral footprint and offers substantial environmental benefits over traditional production methods. Moreover, LEOP’s strategic utilisation of geothermal energy presents an additional revenue stream by supplying energy to customers via electricity generation, heating supply to buildings or to industry.

Horst Kreuter, Managing Director of Vulcan Energie Ressourcen GmbH said “We are happy to have been awarded the Ruggero Bertani European Geothermal Innovation Award 2024. It is very important for us. It shows that we have gone a long way to the success of having the first green lithium in Europe, and we are looking forward to doing it commercially and big”.

The Upper Rhine Graben harbours abundant geothermal lithium reservoirs, and the LEOP approach capitalizes on this resource. Through a sophisticated absorption process known as Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE), Vulcan Energie Ressourcen GmbH extracts lithium chloride from geothermal, and optimises energy usage, making it a landmark achievement in sustainable resource utilisation.

Miklos Antics, President of the European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) and jury member said, “This year’s award celebrates the tenth edition since 2004 and, celebrates technological achievements and the spirit of collaboration and ingenuity driving progress in geothermal endeavours across Europe”.

EGIA 2024 finalists and winner Vulcan Energie Ressourcen GmbH. Source: EGEC.

The 2024 award stands for the recognition of demonstrating that geothermal fluids can be used beyond harnessing energy in the form of power and/or heat to extract critical raw materials, such as Lithium, locally in a sustainable manner.

Vulcan Energie Ressourcen GmbH’s LEOP project stood out for its innovation, sustainability, and potential to reshape the future of lithium production. EGEC congratulates Vulcan Energie Ressourcen GmbH on this remarkable achievement and looks forward to further advancements in geothermal sustainable energy innovations.

More information about the EGIA 2024 Award can be found here.

More information about the Finalists can be found here.

Download the full press release.

About EGEC – European Geothermal Energy Council  

The European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) is a not-for-profit organisation promoting all aspects of the geothermal industry. Founded in 1998, its objective is to facilitate awareness and expansion of geothermal applications across Europe by shaping policy, improving investment conditions and steering research. 

It has over 200 members from 30 countries, ranging from developers to equipment manufacturers, energy providers, national associations, consultants, research centres, geological surveys, government agencies, departments and public authorities. This allows EGEC to represent the entire geothermal sector. 

EGEC is listed in the European Transparency Register No. 11458103335-07 

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