Recovery of Lithium from Brines and Clay Minerals and Recycled Lithium-ion Batteries

M.P. Paranthaman, R. Bhave, L. Popovs, B.A. Moyer, J.T. Caldwell, V.K. Pecharsky, T.A. Lograsso, J. Krenrich, K. Lyon, T. Lister, A. Navrotsky, F. Zhao, J. Sutherland, A. Mcdonald, S. Harrison
Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
United States

Keywords: lithium, batteries


The demand for lithium is expected to increase drastically in the near future due to the increased usage of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LIB) in electric vehicles, smartphones and other portable electronics. To alleviate the potential risk of undersupply, lithium can be extracted from raw sources consisting of minerals and brines or from recycled batteries. The main goal of this research is to develop materials and processing technologies to improve the economics of lithium extraction and production from naturally occurring geothermal and other brines for energy storage applications. A novel sorbent, lithium aluminum layered double hydroxide chloride (LDH) (pure and iron-doped), is synthesized and characterized. Each cycle of the column extraction process consists of three steps: (1) loading the sorbent with lithium chloride from brine; (2) intermediate washing to remove unwanted ions; and (3) final washing for unloading the lithium chloride ions. This research demonstrates that lithium has been selectively extracted from brines, minerals and recycled lithium ion batteries, thus offering the possibility of effective application of lithium salts in lithium-ion batteries leading to a fundamental shift in the lithium supply chain.