Purification of lithium chloride from brine

Purification of lithium chloride from brine

Electrodialysis use in brine lithium extraction

Did you know?

Compared to RO, ZLD with ED technology can concentrate dissolved solids to salinity up to 200 g/l

MEGA application for purification LiCl – South America/Canada/China

Cold, warm and hot electrodialysis processes as cost reduction challenge

Gain high-grade lithium using unique, cost-effective electrodialysis technical solution implemented into the brine extraction process

MEGA solution possibilities for purification LiCl are in integrating cost-effective desalination phase electrodialysis in the conventional lithium brine extraction processes.

The separation and concentration of a mixture of NaCl and LiCl from a feed solution containing trace amounts of sulfate, hardness ions, silica and boron using electrodialysis.

Would you like to know more about the benefits of using electrodialysis in conventional lithium brine extraction process?

Contact our specialist

Lithium Chloride from brine extraction

What is zero liquid discharge

What is LiCl

Lithium chloride (formula LiCl) is a typical ionic compound with excellent solubility in polar solvents such as water. It is one of the primary sources of Lithium (Li+) metal. LiCl is mainly extracted from lithium brines.

Lithium brine deposits

Liquid lithium brine reservoirs are located beneath salt flats, known as salars, most of which are in South America, Canada, and China. Other lithium-rich brine resources include geothermal, seawater and oil field brines. Brine has a theoretical lithium content of about 3 %.

Lithium chloride uses

Lithium chloride is mainly used for the production of lithium metal by electrolysis of a LiCl/KCl. LiCl is also used as a brazing flux for aluminium in automobile parts. It is frequently used as desiccants (for drying air streams). Lithium chloride is also used in biochemical applications to precipitate RNA from cellular extracts.

Zero liquid discharge system

Lithium brine extraction

Lithium salts such as LiCl are extracted from the brine deposit, separating the metal from other elements by pumping the lithium brine into evaporation ponds. The lithium evaporation ponds, also called salterns or salt pans, are designed to extract lithium salts naturally by solar evaporation. When the lithium brine reaches the ideal lithium concentration, the brine is pumped to a lithium recovery facility for extraction.

Pretreatment - nanofiltration is mainly used in this step to remove any contaminants or unwanted constituents from the brine, especially hardness caused by Mg 2+.

Concentrationis the next step usually accomplished by membrane technologies, such as reverse osmosis (RO), electrodialysis (ED), or a combination of RO with ED.

Lithium production is the final step when the brine is finally treated with a reagent, and the soluble product is filtered and dried for sale. Depending on the reagent, the appropriate form of marketable lithium is obtained, such as lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride etc.

Advanced electrodialysis system for lithium chloride purification from lithium brine extraction

Electrodialysis in ZLD

Lithium recovery from brine using MEGA electrodialysis (EDR)

Nowadays, most of the world production of lithium is extracted from brines. It is a prolonged process that uses evaporation ponds. Furthermore, the extraction is chemical-intensive and delivers large volumes of waste.

The goal of the MEGA solution is to improve today’s conventional methods of producing lithium chloride, and another object is to turn the waste feed into a new source.

MEGA electrodialysis for lithium purification is a unique technology consisting of cost-effective and highly efficient desalination. The output feed from conventional processes still contains high levels of lithium is reused to gain high-grade lithium with lower operating costs. The implementation of ED into the traditional recovery of lithium process is two times more effective than using RO alone.

RALEX membranes for different industries and processes

How does it work?

The innovation is based on partial concentration by RO to roughly 40,000 mg/L concentrates followed by electrodialysis using demineralized water as the receiving water and concentrate to a level above 80,000 mg/L dissolved solids. After chelating IX and evaporation, a crystallizer is used to produce the final product, such as lithium chloride etc.

What is the proposed unit operation train

NF → RO → ED → EV ‎ Crystallization

NF – Nanofiltration, RO – reverse osmosis, ED – electrodialysis, EV - evaporation

How could the block flow diagram work

The common NF permeate could be concentrated up to 4 times by RO with no antiscalant.

The RO retentate could be concentrated 2 times by EDR with no antiscalant.

The ED concentrate is purified by the B and Si removal unit.

The final concentration step is evaporation combined with LiCl / NaCl crystallization step. The product is commodity grade LiCl.

Benefits of using MEGA electrodialysis in conventional lithium brine extraction processes

Benefits of using MEGA electrodialysis in conventional lithium brine extraction processes

The present invention method aims to increase the Li yield of the entire production by recovering more lithium from the extraction process itself and additionally from the waste mother liquors. The main benefits of electrodialysis are:

  • Special configuration ED reduces the complexity of production and waste management.
  • ED is reaching high levels of Silica and Boron retention over 97 %.
  • Electrodialysis lowers the number of water-salt solutions for handling.
  • Electrodialysis is saving cost for the evaporation steps.
  • Electrodialysis is pulling ions resulting in 80,000 mg/L maximal concentration for LiCl .
  • Green technology.

Limited lithium reserves and the increasing costs of its recovery are increasing pressure on lithium brine processors, who are facing new challenges in the cost and efficiency of current lithium brine recovery methods. Therefore MEGA has developed this new solution for lithium brine mining.

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Tomas Dornik

Tomas Dornik

Sales Manager

+420 601 342 268 tomas.dornik@mega.cz
Oleksandr Bornosus

Oleksandr Bornosus

Area Sales Manager, CEE and CIS

+420 722 459 239 oleksandr.bornosus@mega.cz
Zdenek Divisek

Zdenek Divisek

Area Sales Manager, Americas

+420 725 090 944 zdenek.divisek@mega.cz
Antonina Sipova

Antonina Sipova

Sales Manager Junior