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Ion Exchange Materials for Lithium Extraction (Topic: 15, Subtopic: e)
Phone: (401) 714-7906
Phone: (401) 714-7906
Electric vehicles are creating unprecedented demand for lithium. Most lithium is produced from brine resources. Conventional methods for extracting lithium from brines suffer from low lithium recovery and cannot access the expanded resources needed for mass adoption of electric vehicles. The Department of Energy has supported a great variety of projects related to battery R&D, manufacturing, and deployment, and many of these projects rely on a secure and sustainable supply of lithium. Ion exchange is an alternative process for lithium extraction that can boost lithium recovery and access expanded resources. This process relies on ion exchange materials with very stringent performance requirements. Existing ion exchange materials have not delivered the performance necessary for large-‐‑scale lithium extraction. New ion exchange materials are needed that can deliver exceptional selectivity for lithium in brines and elute highly concentrated lithium. During this Phase 1 SBIR project, Lilac Solutions will use a computational materials genome approach to identify new ion exchange materials with superlative performance for lithium extraction. Lilac has developed a unique, robust, and cutting edge computational model to screen 1,000 materials and identify a top-‐‑five list of new materials with exceptionally strong lithium selectivity and facile lithium recovery. This computational search will create a pipeline of new materials to expand Lilac’s experimental work. During a Phase II SBIR extension, Lilac will synthesize the new materials and incorporate the materials into polymer membranes. These membranes will be loaded into absorption cells for technology demonstration at laboratory-‐‑scale and then pilot-‐‑scale. During Phase III, Lilac will sell ion exchange membranes to lithium producers along with associated hardware and operational services. Operational services will include installation and process optimization to ensure that customers maximize the value of the equipment. Lithium producers will use Lilac’s advanced ion exchange technology to increase lithium supply for the battery industry.
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