Lithium is a very useful substance nowadays. Without Lithium, there will be no battery, which means no electronic devices. So, it is very important to have a huge source of Lithium. Lithium is going to be the most valuable metal in the next 30 years. In the future, everything will depend upon electricity, because in the next 50 years we are going to face a huge shortage of fossil fuels like coal and petroleum. So, developing as well as developed countries are trying to manufacture lithium as much as they can. There is a new theory about manufacturing Lithium, that is lithium manufactured from seawater. Let’s discuss it briefly.
Brine extraction and seawater:
Brine extraction is the traditional way to extract Lithium from sources. Seawater is also a brine, but it is different from traditional brines like salars. For commercial purposes, brine extraction is used to extract lithium from a source that contains 300 to 700 ppm lithium concentration. But seawater only has less than 1 ppm Lithium concentration. So, typical brine extraction can not be used for seawater.
Methods of manufacturing Lithium from seawater:
Due to the very low concentration of lithium in seawater, to extract a decent amount of lithium we need to filter a huge amount of seawater. Not only that, there are many minerals present in seawater in larger amounts than lithium. So, traditional filtration, reverse osmosis, or ion exchange methods are not usable. Therefore, new methods of adsorption, desorption, and crystallization are used to manufacture lithium from seawater.
How this process works:
These new processes use desalination wastewater to manufacture lithium. In the reverse osmosis method, the desalination wastewater is separated into two parts, one is pure water and another one is a rejected stream that consists of brines. Generally, rejected streams are discharged into the seawater, but with these methods, we can extract Lithium from the rejected stream.
This is the process of manufacturing lithium from seawater in brief. I hope you will understand the process in general.