the relationship between geothermal energy and lithium
Lithium Story Map. Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

As product managers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Nicholas Gilroy and Haiku Sky help turn complex information into a compelling journey on the web. Their work allows users to interact with data and even download information as the story of research unfolds.

Working closely with user experience researchers and engineers, the two helped the U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) develop a new Lithium Story Map for energy.gov that lays out the relationship between geothermal energy and lithium via images, animation, maps, and narrative.

Since its launch on Aug. 24, 2022, the Lithium Story Map has more than 1,600 views. The concept is a first-of-its-kind project for the Department of Energy website, bringing science to the masses in a way that feels closer to scrolling through social media for knowledge rather than hunkering down with a textbook.

The Lithium Story Map allows visitors to scroll through the role of lithium in renewable energy today, see how the critical material is currently obtained, and understand why the Salton Sea region of California may prove a key domestic source—with a little help from geothermal energy.It also explains why GTO investment in technologies supporting lithium extraction from geothermal brines is so important to a green economy.

“It is possible that domestic lithium extraction from geothermal brines could secure a long-term source of this critical material, create clean energy jobs, and lower the costs of lithium use for key products like rechargeable batteries,” said Elisabet Metcalfe, GTO stakeholder engagement lead.

We talked with developers Sky and Gilroy right before launch about their process, how story maps could change the game, and what they learned.

Story mapping

The term “story map” originated as part of the ArcGIS mapping software several years ago, but maps and data have told stories for centuries—the stories were often just harder to decipher.

GTO approached Sky and Gilroy with the story map concept in relation to lithium because the form can disseminate high-impact takeaways for multiple audiences.

“For the Lithium Story Map in particular, it was important to have a strong narrative to begin with and a clear entry point,” Gilroy said. “The goal was to set context—lithium is something that is all around us in our modern world. If someone can relate, then we have a hook and can go to the next level of information, describing Lithium’s life cycle, where it comes from, how it’s produced, and how we might find new sources to meet the growing demand.”

He said the use of a story map enables NREL to convey why specific research areas or initiatives are important and should be prioritized.

“This new data visualization is a big departure from the typical way technical information is shared,” Sky said. “We built something custom that is really—we hope—beautiful and interesting to look at.”

John Oliver + NREL?

The duo found inspiration to bring the GTO story map vision alive through an unlikely source—a TV talk show. “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” created a video about the electricity grid, which went on to earn almost 6 million views.

Gilroy said the entire video is referencing an NREL report.

“This is what NREL does all the time, talking about the transition to clean energy. How is he getting traction?” he said. “Why are people responding to it? Because he’s meeting people where they are at. People are used to consuming something on TV, YouTube, or HBO. You have to make it accessible and understood on a mobile device or social platform.”

Sky said the Lithium Story Map offers a similar voice.

“As a user scrolls, you get to see the data over time and tie it to key important things that occurred throughout history that are relevant to lithium,” he said. “It’s a very passive and effective way for a person to consume information.”

What is next for story maps and geothermal?

Gilroy said more story maps are in the works for the team, as they continue to develop the platform.

“We are continuously thinking through the user experience—what are the needs, attitudes, emotions, and behaviors of people who use our products,” he said, “and how can we meet them where they like to be to allow them to consume information in ways they are used to.”

“One of the things I love about working at NREL,” Sky said, “is when there are dual or multipurpose ways to solve problems—like agrivoltaics or solar siding. Geothermal energy generation plus lithium extraction could be a game changer.”

Leveraging geothermal plants for the direct extraction of lithium avoids having to create new, and expensive, specialized infrastructure. By using tools that already exist, the industry can help solve scientific hurdles and advance toward a more renewable future.

How many of your devices need lithium?

How many items in your home or workplace use lithium? And not just use it, but could not exist without it?

Lithium is an essential ingredient in our day-to-day lives, as well as the future of renewable energy. It is the primary component in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones and digital cameras, electric vehicle batteries and solar panels, and even the non-rechargeable batteries found in life-saving pacemakers.

As lithium demand continues to grow, extraction from geothermal fluids is of growing interest. The underground brine contains this scarce element, meaning geothermal energy may soon play a greater role in our lives and in the green economy. Provided by National Renewable Energy Laboratory Citation: The relationship between geothermal energy and lithium (2022, September 27) retrieved 27 September 2022 from https://techxplore.com/news/2022-09-relationship-geothermal-energy-lithium.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Investing In The MSI MEG Z790 ACE DDR5?

It’s A Z $700 Board The current generation of motherboards come with impressive price tags, regardless if you are shopping for AMD or Intel.  The MSI MEG Z790 ACE DDR5 is no exception to this, it’s $700 price tag is lower than the Godlike but almost twice the price ...

View more: Investing In The MSI MEG Z790 ACE DDR5?

Cisco to gauge user experience with cloud-management service by AppDynamics

AWS re:Invent: Cisco announces the addition of business transaction insights to its AppDynamics Cloud management platform.

View more: Cisco to gauge user experience with cloud-management service by AppDynamics

AWS adds machine learning capabilities to Amazon Connect

At re:Invent 2022, AWS has announced the general availability of forecasting, capacity planning, scheduling, and Contact Lens features for its Amazon Connect contact centre service, while introducing two new features in preview.

View more: AWS adds machine learning capabilities to Amazon Connect

Samsung’s Self-Repair Program May Include Watches and Earbuds Soon

Samsung could be expanding its right to repair program to include watches and earbuds. The program originally launched earlier this year when Samsung teamed up with iFixit to help its customers fix their broken smartphones. A patent filed by the company on November 23 seems to outline a new ...

View more: Samsung’s Self-Repair Program May Include Watches and Earbuds Soon

Why You Should Own an Impact Wrench

Ryobi You’ll find an Impact wrench in every mechanics tool chest, and it’s one of the best affordable tools every DIY enthusiast should own, whether it’s for working on your car or doing tasks around the house. While you probably already own some hand wrenches in various sizes, those ...

View more: Why You Should Own an Impact Wrench

Developing the low-energy ion spectrometer for the Chinese BeiDou-3 satellite

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain In our daily lives, we rely on weather forecasts to know whether it will rain tomorrow. The monitoring and prediction of space weather such as geomagnetic storms and substorms are also vital for the operation safety of satellites outside the atmosphere and the living conditions ...

View more: Developing the low-energy ion spectrometer for the Chinese BeiDou-3 satellite

These bizarre fungi don’t belong to any current classification of life

Genome studies have helped uncover an entirely new branch of fungi that includes 600 seemingly unconnected fungi. However, when digging into the genome sequencing of each fungus, researchers discovered peculiar characteristics that seem to connect the group to a common ancestor dating back 300 million years. The research was ...

View more: These bizarre fungi don’t belong to any current classification of life

Vertagear PL6800, A Coffee Infused Gaming Chair Built For The Substantial Gamer

Manufacturer: Vertagear Contents Designed For Those Over 6′ And 200lbs Because We Aren’t All Built Like Those Cute Streamers Workstation Chairs Are For Working Yes, The Cats Got The Box Everything You Could Need To Park Your Fanny Some Assembly Required One Simple Trick To Finish It Off Now Witness ...

View more: Vertagear PL6800, A Coffee Infused Gaming Chair Built For The Substantial Gamer

Climate change will cause Pacific's low-oxygen zone to expand even more by 2100, study finds

To track disease-carrying mosquitoes, researchers tag them with DNA barcodes

Most Asian countries are far behind biodiversity targets for protected areas, finds study of 40 countries

Windows 11 KB5020044 preview update released with 25 changes

How to text yourself on WhatsApp, and why you should

Microsoft to Offer Sony 10-Year Call of Duty License to Appease EU Regulators

Nations must embrace change in order to tackle biodiversity crisis, researchers say

Sex roles in the animal kingdom driven by the ratio of females to males

Netflix’s Wednesday series is responsible for the newest viral trend on TikTok

UK firm to release GEO-compatible smartphone early next year

Widespread bullying and gender-based harassment in the transport industry restricts female participation

Genomes OnLine Database introduces new features

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News