Simbol Materials of Pleasanton, California has proposed a new method of acquiring lithium for batteries by extracting the element from post-production brine solutions of geothermal power plants.
Lithium is an expensive key component of batteries, hybrid vehicles, and electric vehicles; and according to Jonathan lee, an analyst at Byron Capital Markets in Toronto, its price has increased further to 35% in one and a half year, making production of lithium batteries more expensive. Due to increasing demands in electric vehicles, it is forecasted that demand for lithium will be doubling this coming eight years.
For this reason, producers of lithium are seeking cheaper alternatives for the industry. One producer, Simbol Materials, see this possibility on their new extraction process that will reduce both processing time and costs, with their lithium output anticipated to surge from 8,000 tons annually to around 64,000 tons after a decade. The new process involves utilization of hot brine solution from post-production in geothermal power plants. Lithium and other important elements will be extracted from the solution via reverse osmosis filtration that will take one and a half to two hours, compared to conventional brine evaporation that will take 18 months.
Considering the advantages of this new innovation in lithium extraction, lower costs and higher output due to reduction in processing time, the new process is deemed to be very promising for it also maximizes the use of resources brought by geothermal plants as it utilizes the heat coming from the underground and extracts other vital elements aside from lithium.