A former resort area that is now an environmental blight could soon be reborn as a major source of lithium for electric vehicles.

That’s what California has in mind for the Salton Sea in Riverside and Imperial counties. Lithium Valley, which stretches from Bombay Beach to Imperial, is seeing a flurry of activity as companies work to prove the technology that can extract lithium from geothermal energy plants.

5 things you should know about Lithium Valley:

  1. The area is believed to contain one-third of the global lithium supply. It's capable of generating about 600,000 tons annually.
  2. The lithium in the Salton Sea area is derived from a process called direct extraction and is integrated into the geothermal energy generation process, which uses steam from hot water reservoirs about 8,000 feet below the Earth’s surface to produce electricity.
  3. About 95% of the lithium used today is from Chile, Argentina, Australia and China.
  4. Most of the lithium currently being produced is done with environmentally destructive processes like open-pit mining and evaporation ponds.
  5. Three companies are working to extract lithium through the geothermal process in the Salton Sea, including Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Controlled Thermal Resources, the latter of which recently received a multimillion-dollar investment from General Motors.