2022-03-14

Less is more: efficient removal of calcium from lithium brine

New ion exchange resin from LANXESS for lithium extraction

Cologne, March 14, 2022 – Specialty chemicals company LANXESS is adding Lewatit TP 308 to its range of selective ion exchange resins, which are ideally suited for the purification of lithium salt solutions. “Purification processes of this type play an important role to create the ultrapure lithium salts needed in the production of lithium batteries and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries,” said Dirk Steinhilber, Technical Marketing Manager at the Liquid Purification Technologies business unit at LANXESS.

Economical softening of diluted lithium brine

The use of ion exchange resins offers a number of advantages over the traditional method of final polishing for lithium brine, which is based primarily on precipitation operations. As Steinhilber explained, “Using ion exchange processes for calcium removal cuts both the time and expenditure needed by a significant margin.”
 
The macroporous Lewatit TP 308 has been developed specifically to treat low-concentration lithium salt solutions (cLi < 2 g/l) containing alkali, alkaline earth and heavy metals at relatively high concentrations ranging from 100 mg up to several grams per liter. Such solutions occur, for example, during the treatment of geothermal brine following the desorption from primary adsorber material.

The removal of the polyvalent ions – mainly calcium – from these solutions takes place very efficiently, with low leakage, and at high flow rates owing to the exceptional exchange kinetics. At the same time, the pressure drop across the resin bed is low. Laboratory testing has demonstrated the superior performance of Lewatit TP 308 compared with various products from competitors.

One particularly impressive feature of the resin is its high total capacity of more than 4.3 eq/l (equivalents per liter). This means better service lives and thus longer intervals between the regeneration phases than is the case with standard resins. Consequently, the specific need for regeneration chemicals and scarce water is reduced. This results in an overall improvement in system availability coupled with lower operating costs. “A specially modified polymer structure for the resin ensures a long lifespan even in the case of frequent regeneration and makes the process a much more attractive prospect in financial terms,” said Steinhilber.

Tailor-made resins for different lithium concentrations

LANXESS also offers tailor-made ion exchange resins for purifying concentrated lithium salt solutions, adding to the range of applications of Lewatit TP 308.

The Lewatit MonoPlus TP 208 and Lewatit MonoPlus TP 260 monodisperse resins can thus be used to remove divalent ions, namely calcium, magnesium, strontium and barium, in a concentration range of 1–100 mg/l from brine with a typical lithium content of 10 g/l. Lewatit MonoPlus TP 208, a resin with chelating iminodiacetic acid (IDA) groups, is best suited for lithium chloride, lithium hydroxide and lithium sulfate solutions.

In addition to the monodisperse resin types in the MonoPlus range, LANXESS offers MDS types of both resins, with polymer beads that have a diameter of approximately 0.4 mm, smaller than that of standard types (0.6–0.7 mm). As a result of the considerably larger specific surface, MDS resins exhibit faster exchange kinetics and a significantly higher usable capacity. They are also more stable both osmotically and mechanically.

They enable impurities to be removed almost entirely. For example, in a concentrated solution of lithium chloride and sodium chloride containing 10 ppm of calcium, only trace amounts of calcium in the ppb range remain after treatment with Lewatit MDS TP 208.

Ultrapure lithium salt solutions obtained in this way are mainly needed for the direct production of LiOH by chloralkali electrolysis, in which expensive membranes need to be protected from the formation of deposits and blockages.

More detailed information can be found at www.lewatit.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This company release contains certain forward-looking statements, including assumptions, opinions, expectations and views of the company or cited from third party sources. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause the actual results, financial position, development or performance of LANXESS AG to differ materially from the estimations expressed or implied herein. LANXESS AG does not guarantee that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors, nor does it accept any responsibility for the future accuracy of the opinions expressed in this presentation or the actual occurrence of the forecast developments. No representation or warranty (expressed or implied) is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, any information, estimates, targets and opinions contained herein, and no liability whatsoever is accepted as to any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein, and accordingly, no representative of LANXESS AG or any of its affiliated companies or any of such person's officers, directors or employees accepts any liability whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from the use of this document.

Information for editors:
All LANXESS news releases and their accompanying photos can be found at press.lanxess.com. Recent photos of the Board of Management and other LANXESS image material are available at photos.lanxess.com.&nbsp;

You can find further information concerning LANXESS chemistry in our digital magazine “Inside LANXESS” at http://inside.lanxess.com.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube:

http://www.twitter.com/LANXESS
http://www.facebook.com/LANXESS
http://www.linkedin.com/company/lanxess
http://www.youtube.com/lanxess

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 7.6 billion in 2021. The company currently has about 14,900 employees in 33 countries. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. LANXESS is listed in the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World and Europe) and FTSE4Good.

Contact

Ilona Kawan

Ilona Kawan
Spokesperson Trade and Technical Press

Phone: +49 221 8885 1684

Fax: +49 221 8885 4865

send E-Mail

Download