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Sustainable Direct Lithium Extraction ("DLE") for the recovery, concentration, and production of lithium chloride from aqueous sources

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0023967
Agency Tracking Number: 0000273102
Amount: $1,300,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C56-13a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002903
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-07-09
Small Business Information
DENVER, CO 80231-3211
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Christopher GREEN
 (720) 236-3227
Business Contact
Phone: (303) 915-8631
Research Institution

Lithium is a strategic mineral commodity that is fundamental to achieving U.S. energy independence. Today, the U.S. is reliant on other countries for a vast majority of its battery critical minerals processing, which poses risk of disruption to domestic supply chain. Our fundamental objective is to take a leading role in the development of a robust domestic minerals extraction and processing supply chain. Many of the materials needed to supply the next generation of batteries for electric vehicles and stationary storage are not produced domestically in the quantities and the costs needed to keep up with the increasing downstream U.S. demand. Advanced, cost-competitive separation and processing technologies offer a critical opportunity for development of a robust U.S. battery supply chain. Conventional purification of natural brines through fractionated crystallization (sequential crystallization using a series of evaporitic ponds) has proven to be a costly, environmentally unsustainable process yielding relatively low recovery of the in-situ lithium resource. Aqueous Resources aims to apply its patented DLE (Direct Lithium Extraction) technology for economic, environmentally efficient, and sustainable lithium production from brine solutions. Our goal is to substantially increase domestic lithium production by augmenting a field proven, patented produced water recycling system for sustainable DLE from US based-continental brines. (1) Obtain continental brines samples from domestic US resources located in Nevada, Arizona, and Arkansas; (2) Test & optimize the patented “AcQUATM” lithium extraction technology on these brine samples at our Denver, CO located facility; (3) Benchmark the lithium recovery process in terms of economic capital expense and sustainability metrics specifically generating quantitative data which supports: (a) Recycling >95% of the input feed water; (b) Mitigates fuel consumption with use of remote solar power; and (c) Reduce CO2 and GHG emissions; (4) Generate an optimal “bespoke” DLE treatment flowsheet for lithium recovery for each continental brine; and (5) Build a modular 24,000 barrel/day integrated pre-treatment and lithium chloride production system suitable for immediate deployment and field testing at one resource location. The key benefits to the application of DLE technology are: (1) reduction in the CAPEX & OPEX per unit ton of lithium hydroxide or carbonate produced (2) unlock trapped domestic lithium resources through the application of patented American owned technology (3) deliver a secure and sustainable source of lithium in the United States for society.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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