2nd stage Deadline:
|07 March 2017 17:00:00
05 September 2017 17:00:00
A german reseach institute is looking for industrial partners to take part in their consortium in the project that aims at devloping an industrial lithium production. The project comes as response to the H2020 call on “Raw materials Innovation actions – SC5-14-2016-2017”, and will be based on a research cooperation agreement. The target partners should be producers of batteries or suppliers of materials for the production of electric energy storage systems.
The research institute is looking for industrial partners to take part in the project which aims at enabling a lithium production in Europe, from lithium-rich water solutions of geological origin or obtained by battery recycling. The industrial partners are necessary for the exploitation of the intellectual property.
The existing consortium includes:
i) three universities/research centers with expertise in electrochemistry (including the researchers which first developed the ion pumping technique)
ii) a research center working on water resources in charge of building the cell
iii) a SME which will perform the life cycle assessment
iv) a SME which will perform the geological investigations
v) a SME with expertise in water treatment which will build a water treatment system
The target is to include industrial partners from the two following sectors
i) producers of materials for batteries, for producing the electrode materials we need in the electrochemical process
ii) producers of batteries, as users of the produced lithium, industries working on recycling of lithium-ion batteries are also targeted
The proposed process is a hydrometallurgical technology based on electrochemical ion pumping: lithium ions are captured by electrodes from the geological solutions and later released in a different water solution, which becomes a high-purity and high-concentration lithium salt solution. The process has been successefully tested on a laboratory scale. The project targets a TRL6. In order to reach it, the project will build an electrochemical cell producing 100 g/day of lithium, with a pre-treatment system (water filtration) and post-treatment (additional stages of purification of the solution and precipitation of lithium carbonate). The system will be tested on real solutions from geological sources.
The production of lithium-ion batteries is expected to grow in the coming years as a consequence of the demand for green and sustainable technologies.
Lithium is relatively expensive and its production is currently extremely localized, with the large majority of lithium produced in south America. The EU is fostering the growth of production of lithium-ion batteries for environmental reasons. The envisaged increase of the lithium demand could lead to an increase of the price of lithium, or even lithium shortage. In order to enable a European lithium production, new extraction technologies must be developed. The proposed technology will contribute to a more resilient production of batteries in Europe.
The hydrometallurgical technology is particularly clean, since it does not involve release of any chemicals into the environment. Moreover, it is not based on mining but on extraction of water, which is environmentally friendly. Production of lithium-rich solutions is also a possible stage in recycling of lithium batteries.