New lithium extraction method
Cross university scientists team at the University of Texas at Austin, Monash University (Australia) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia have found out a new way to collect lithium from water. They published their discovery here:
Huacheng Zhang, Jue Hou, Yaoxin Hu, Peiyao Wang, Ranwen Ou, Lei Jiang, Jefferson Zhe Liu, Benny D. Freeman, Anita J. Hill and Huanting Wang (2018) “Ultrafast selective transport of alkali metal ions in metal organic frameworks with subnanometer pores” Science Advances Vol. 4, no. 2, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaq0066
In the essence the extraction method is based on separation/filtration process inspired by live biological cell membranes, whose method of functioning was investigated by Roderick MacKinnon and Peter Agre (2003 Nobel Prize in chemistry laureates). It fits well into a trend of employing solutions found in living organisms into technology.
The immediate application of the discovery could be an extraction of lithium from lithium rich waste water coming from gas fracking fields.
To give an example of potential for this technology:
The lithium rich Barnett and Eagle Ford shale formations in Texas generate around 300,000 gallons of waste water per week. Scientists estimate that just from one week’s worth of waste water, enough lithium can be recovered to power 200 electric cars or 1.6 million smartphones.
Tesla/SQM marriage of convenience
Since our article on Corfo as Lithium power broker speculations on Tesla and SQM cooperation do not fade in medias. The story started to live its own life, without any of the companies involved confirming the interest.
The story however has a significance not only to Tesla/SQM investors/observers. Since if true, shows the real beginning of the trend long-heralded by analysts, but in fact not executed in practice, of automotive companies, directly securing lithium supplies from producers. It also does not come as a surprise that if the cooperation will be concluded, always innovative Tesla will be yet again the one leading the herd.
Ardiden Limited’s success in Canada
Junior lithium developer Ardiden limited produced battery grade lithium carbonate during preliminary metallurgical testwork from its 100% owned Seymour Lake Lithium project based in Ontario Canada. Lithium has been processed by well established Shandong Ruifu Lithium Co. Ltd at 99.52% purity. Concentrte has been produced by Yantai Jinyuan Mining Machinery Co. Ltd. Material has been sourced from Seymour Lake’s North Aubry spodumene deposit.
Link to company’s announcement with more details: