Posted on October 29, 2018
Standard Lithium Ltd. said in a statement that the company has completed the construction of the prototype pilot plant for its proprietary selective crystallization process, and is currently commissioning the plant for operation.
The pilot prototype has been designed and fabricated in partnership with Saltworks Technologies Inc. and will be initially operated at their facility in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.
If results are positive, Standard Lithium will commission and build a full-scale crystallization pilot plant for future deployment at the project site near El Dorado, Arkansas.
The prototype pilot has been designed based on Standard Lithium’s proprietary process that selectively crystallizes “battery-quality” lithium carbonate from concentrated lithium chloride solutions.
To date, the company’s test work has been completed at laboratory scale, and has yielded high purity lithium carbonate material (>99.5% purity). The newly constructed pilot prototype will operate on a semi-continuous basis, whereby the feed solution is periodically replenished, and the final high purity lithium carbonate is periodically removed.
The prototype is designed to process up to 100 L/day of inlet brine, and produce up to 1 kg/day of lithium carbonate. Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled high-speed, multi-image photo-microscopy and computer image recognition for crystal size and shape will be tested during the prototype, and will be fully integrated into the process control system for the subsequent full-scale pilot.
The prototype is considered to be a proof-of-concept for the proprietary process, and commissioning is currently under way at Saltworks. It is expected that members of Standard Lithium’s Technical Advisory Committee and their staff will operate the prototype for 2-3 months.
Dr. Andy Robinson, president and COO of Standard Lithium commented, “We’re very excited to have this prototype pilot plant built and commissioned, and we are very grateful to Saltworks Technologies Inc. for their knowledge, expertise and diligence in designing, fabricating and commissioning this prototype so quickly. It’s our hope that we can demonstrate how sophisticated modern crystallization technologies developed and transferred from the pharmaceuticals industry can be adapted for use in the modern world of high purity lithium chemicals.”
Ben Sparrow, CEO and chief engineer of Saltworks commented, “Standard Lithium’s proprietary process showed compelling potential when we ran it through our in-house mass and energy balance computer models and detailed engineering. This is why we put our best people on it and accelerated the build. The next step is to dial-in their innovation and start making high grade lithium carbonate.
“If Standard Lithium likes the work and results, we are ready to rapidly deliver a mobile fully continuous plant and support Standard Lithium to commercialize this high–potential technology.”
The company’s flagship project is located in Union County, where it is engaged in the testing and proving of the commercial viability of lithium extraction from over 150,000 acres of permitted brine operations utilizing the company’s proprietary selective extraction technology in cooperation with Great Lakes Chemical.
The company is also pursuing the resource development of over 30,000 acres of separate brine leases located in Columbia and Lafayette counties.