September 21, 2023

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‘In the US they are talking about concentrations of 9,000 ppm lithium.  These are orders of magnitude different than those in mol

‘In the US they are talking about concentrations of 9,000 ppm lithium. These are orders of magnitude different than those in mol

Kempen has lithium in groundwater. wrote that Time This weekend. Still, the doctor is afraid. Peter Tom Jones, who heads the Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals at KU Leuven, says geothermal giant Hitta’s hopes are unrealistic.

Peter Kortz

How many moles of lithium are found?

“I fear that its true value is overestimated. It covers a concentration of 100 ppm (Parts Per Million, PG) lithium. It is low concentration. Lithium is found in five different sources. The first and most important are called salaries. These are liquid brines under salt lakes found in Latin America or China. The concentration there is 2,000 ppm lithium. These salars are pumped and vaporized, and the concentration rises to 20,000 ppm lithium.

“The second source is spodumene, the ore from which lithium is extracted. That’s what’s happening now in Australia. Europe will now try in Portugal, Finland and France, where concentrations go up to 5,000 ppm lithium.

New kid on the block America is. ‘World’s Largest Lithium Deposit’ Discovered in Clay Beneath an Ancient Volcano, Recent Paper Describes Science That. There we are talking about concentrations of 9,000 ppm lithium. You immediately realize: these are very different sizes than in the mole.

Professor Peter Tom Jones (KU Leuven).Image Twitter

At Mol, it concerns the extraction of lithium through geothermal energy, the fourth source for the metal. What is Geothermal?

“Geothermal energy is primarily aimed at generating heat energy. Lithium is a by-product. Although the product you get is very impure: what you’re pumping also has a lot of calcium and magnesium. These are filtered out with chemicals, which is very difficult.

“I have been in the business for thirty years. I often meet people and researchers who only look at the technical aspect: Is lithium extractable? Mostly so. Many European projects revolve around this. They often make loud announcements, raise a lot of money, but fail to present profitable projects.

“As far as I know, there is no commercially viable project worldwide to extract lithium through geothermal energy. It is technically possible. But the cost of the chemicals and installations you need is so high compared to the intrinsic value of lithium that I would be very surprised if it ever becomes profitable. Additionally, lithium prices have recently halved.In short, this So sorry about nothing.”

Why is lithium so popular?

“Because it is essential in any form of battery technology. Europe is also trying to become self-sufficient in key metals, including lithium. It is one of the most strategic and important metals in the transition to a green economy. It will be needed in very large quantities. If the Paris climate targets are to be met, 42 times the global production of lithium in 2040 will be 42 times greater than in 2020.” The International Energy Agency estimates that more lithium will be needed.

Could Belgium play a role in the lithium market?

“Yes, through a fifth source for lithium, namely recycling. There will be a large flow of discarded batteries from 2030 and 2035. Umicore, a Belgian company that smelts batteries and extracts nickel, cobalt and lithium, could become a driving force. Solvay is also very focused on recycling.

“Though we now have to wait for Umigor’s announcement: where will it build its new factory? Everyone believes it will be Flanders, but we know it will be northern France. There, French President Emmanuel Macron has rolled out the red carpet, guaranteeing that the approval process will still go smoothly. .The defeat of Ineos shows how difficult this is in Flanders.

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