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Extracting lithium from waste brine without ponds

By Scott Jenkins |

The growing demand for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) has created incentives to improve processes for extracting lithium from brine. Current Li-extraction processes involve pumping brine from underground into shallow pools for evaporation and concentration. But the traditional method has several significant limitations, including its requirement for large flat areas for ponds and a dry climate for evaporation. Further, the process takes over a year, only recovers 50% of available Li and comes with challenges in achieving high purities. Standard Lithium Ltd. (Vancouver, B.C.; www.standardlithium.com) has developed a new process to overcome these limitations, while taking advantage of waste brine from another process as a resource. As a raw material, the process utilizes brine that has already been pumped from underground for the extraction of bromine. The company has partnered with Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; www.lanxess.com), which owns a bromine-extraction operation in southern Arkansas that is part of its flame-retardant chemicals business. Standard Lithium developed a proprietary process that uses a solid ceramic adsorbent material with a crystal lattice that is capable of selectively pulling Li + ions from the waste brine after…
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