The United Kingdom is betting on a new way to extract lithium: from the mica found in granite. In what they call a “world first,” the company British Lithium assures having started produce lithium from mica.
Its pilot plant covers all stages of processing, from extraction to the production of lithium carbonate, necessary for the manufacture of batteries for electric cars, and for the United Kingdom to meet its goal of leaving combustion engines behind by 2030.
21,000 tons of lithium carbonate suitable for batteries each year
The company has started produce lithium from mica at its new pilot plant near Roche in Cornwall, England.
Built in just seven months, it concentrates the crushing process, low-temperature electric calcination or purification steps that include ion exchange.
The project is currently in a testing phase, as lithium has never been produced on a commercial scale from mica before.
British Lithium’s goal is to manufacture five kilograms of lithium carbonate per day from the beginning of this year at the pilot plant, an amount they believe “enough to demonstrate its commercial value to customers.”
Once the process – of which no secrets have been revealed – is fully developed, work will begin on the construction of a large-scale plant. This supposes 21,000 tons of lithium carbonate suitable for batteries each year.
The project has been funded by the government agency Innovate UK, a research and technological innovation area of the British Government. They have invested about three million pounds.
“The Government supports British Lithium’s plans and I hope they will produce enough lithium to supply around a third of the UK’s annual demand by 2030, when all car manufacturing in this country will have been converted to electric cars,” he said in June Conservative MP Steve Double after a visit to the plant.
The truth is that the Cornish granite it is being exploited in various ways. Among them, as geothermal energy, since at kilometers deep the rocks store heat that the Geothermal Engineering company plans to convert into electrical energy.
Only in the UK could up to 200 gigawatts, enough to supply six million homes.
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Source: Motorpasión by www.motorpasion.com.
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