As the world shifts from its dependence upon fossil fuels, the demand for energy dense batteries continues to grow.
Lithium, a key component in these batteries is mined only in a small number of regions in the world. Producers are collectively challenged to meet the growing demand.
Ironically, the industry that is being most impacted by this transition in the energy sphere also provides a solution to this problem. During the production of conventional oil and gas, water is also brought to the surface. This water stream can contain appreciable amounts of dissolved lithium, as outlined in this article: https://bit.ly/3zLikD2
A number of cleantech companies have taken on the challenge of recovering this waterborne lithium by applying various technologies including:
• solvent extraction
• ion exchange
• solid phase adsorption
• selective precipitation
• membrane filtration
Despite several of these approaches proving very successful, there remain engineering challenges that must be overcome to become cost competitive.
Our expertise in the physical and chemical sciences underpinning these lithium extraction technologies is supporting innovative companies in bringing these technologies to market.