Lithium demand is expected to grow exponentially. However, the production of this chemical is still concentrated in South America, China and Australia. But that will soon change. Developed countries are looking for the possibility of environmentally friendly production of lithium in their territories. They are engaged in this in Germany, and they are beginning to do this in the United States.
The New Energy division of oilfield services giant Schlumberger announced preparations for the launch in Nevada (USA) of a pilot plant NeoLith Energy for environmentally friendly production of lithium. The company spent $ 15 million on the development of technology and equipment and will invest the same amount in the installation and commissioning of the unit. Now we are at the stage of collecting permits for the operation of equipment. Commissioning is expected before the end of this year.
The NeoLith Energy unit will produce high-purity lithium from natural underground reservoirs with liquid solutions (brines) of lithium salts. The extremely high extraction efficiency and environmental friendliness of the unique differentiated direct extraction of lithium (DLE) process are declared. The extraction of the purified chemical will take several weeks, rather than 12 months or more as in the case of the mining technologies prevalent in the world today.
In addition, for the extraction and processing of raw materials, the DLE process requires 85% less water than in the case of modern methods of extraction of lithium from brine. Natural raw materials will be used as efficiently as possible with minimal harm to the environment. The operation of the pilot plant will allow the development of an industrial plant of high productivity, taking into account all the identified shortcomings. It will probably take two or three years before the world’s most advanced lithium mining complexes start operating in the United States, but for now we will have to put up with China.
If you notice an error, select it with the mouse and press CTRL + ENTER.