Many experts in the lithium industry believe that lithium will soon be one of the most important commodities on the planet, but extraction methods need to be updated or replaced to meet the demand.
Lithium is becoming the critical asset that will transform the future of clean energy and a new method of lithium extraction is proving to be superior to traditional methods.
What Is Lithium Extraction
Lithium extraction is the process of obtaining lithium from the Earth. Historically, lithium extraction has involved two types of processes: hard rock mining and solar evaporation.
Lithium usually appears in compounds, so it is in a mixture of other elements. This makes extraction more complex, because not only does the lithium compound need to be extracted, but then lithium must be isolated in the compound so it can be concentrated for practical use.
Direct Lithium Extraction vs. Traditional Methods
Direct Lithium Extraction
Direct Lithium Extraction is a patent pending process created by Dr. John Burba, also known as the 'Godfather of Lithium', which uses a radical engineering concept and a highly selective absorbent which rejects impurities such as calcium and magnesium.
This highly efficient process is profusely low-cost. Capital cost for Direct Lithium Extraction plants are a fraction of the current norm and the operating costs are among the lowest in the industry.
The recovery rate from Direct Lithium Extraction is phenomenal in comparison to other methods. In fact, all of the commercial-grade lithium from brine water sources have a recovery rate around 20-40%. When fully implemented, Direct Lithium Extraction can reach higher than 90% recovery of lithium.
Finally, Direct Lithium Extraction is extremely environmentally friendly. Over 98% of the brine water used is recycled back, which alleviates concerns about depleting water supplies for nearby peoples, an investment for ensuring the future of energy with minimal environmental impact.
Currently, there are two types of commercial lithium extraction methods: hard rock mining and solar evaporation.
Hard Rock Mining
Hard rock mining (or spodumene mining) involves digging for pegmatites, or clusters of rocks and crystals all interlocking in the same rock. These rocks are then sent off for processing, which can involve heavy chemical use and producing a large amount of waste, hurting the environment.
The solar evaporation method uses shallow ponds to evaporate water from a brine solution which contains lithium. The problem with this process is the large amount of groundwater that is consumed in the process and the waste salts which are left stacked in the desert.
Neither of these methods feature lithium recovery rates nearly as high as Direct Lithium Extraction, nor are they as low-cost and quick to start up.
The Future of Renewable Energy
Direct Lithium Extraction is the innovational process that will provide the raw materials to power the future of renewable energy.
The power of clean and sustainable energy reverberates throughout many industries, from electric vehicles to almost every digital medium, even the world of cryptocurrency attracts environmentally conscious-minded people (such as LITH Token).
If you're interested in learning more about IBAT or lithium extraction processes, click below!