Most of the world’s lithium reserves are found in salt brines, with current production concentrated in South America. The conventional process for extracting lithium from brines requires large evaporation ponds that are vulnerable to weather, large quantities of chemical inputs, and long periods of time for construction and processing plus it also suffers from low lithium recovery.
Lilac has developed a modular technology that can be scaled up (or down, presumably) in reaction to market trends.
The key to Lilac’s technology is ion exchange. Lilac has identified a group of high performance materials that can absorb and release lithium from brine quickly and in high concentration, while requiring less water than conventional methods.
In contrast to a months-long wait involve in conventional brine evaporation, the Lilac process takes a matter of hours.
Lilac Solutions plans to pump brine directly from a brine reservoir into a tank filled with materials specialized for ion exchange. When the brine filters through the material, it releases lithium to be collected. The remaining salt waste will be drained directly back into the brine reservoir.
This streamlined process bypasses the need for the brine to be transported to evaporation ponds and eliminates the toxic salt piles that result from the conventional process.
Lilac’s technology is a more environmentally friendly way to ramp up the energy storage supply chain.
Reference- Cleantechnica, Lilac Website, Wikipedia, Investing News