Successful in-house lithium extraction tech developedASX:VUL Nov 14, 2022
Investment Thesis 1: Valuable technical skill set
Risk 1: Development risk
Our lithium development Investment and 2020 Pick of the Year Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) has successfully developed, tested and demonstrated its own in-house lithium extraction sorbent, VULSORB™ to sustainably extract lithium from the Upper Rhine Valley Brine Field and its Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project.
Test-work using VULSORB™ on live brine, from VUL’s commercially operating geothermal plant, demonstrated higher performance and lower water consumption compared with commercially available sorbents that VUL has tested.
It allows for very pure lithium chloride to be selectively extracted from the brine that can then be converted to lithium hydroxide for use in lithium-ion batteries.
VULSORB™ is a variation of the type of lithium extraction sorbents developed thirty years ago and used globally to commercially extract lithium from brine for decades.
But VUL’s process is much faster and more efficient than the legacy industry method — it has a lower carbon footprint and sorbent extraction takes just hours, rather than up to 18 months.
This development now positions VUL as a lithium extraction technology provider, as well as a lithium chemicals and renewable energy developer.
We see potential for VUL to licence out the tech to other lithium brine companies — a potential additional revenue stream for VUL. This lithium extraction approach can be used in most lithium-rich brines globally, if they have sufficient salinity and there is enough heat to drive the process.
VUL continues to test other sorbents for lithium extraction from commercial suppliers, but at this stage VULSORB™ is its first choice in its planned Phase 1 commercial development, targeting first commercial lithium production for Q4 2025.
The production of this in-house lithium extraction sorbent — along with recent test results of the highest grade, lowest impurity lithium hydroxide to date from VUL’s pilot plant — are positive signs as we look ahead to the completion of VUL’s DFS and then first commercial Zero Carbon Lithium™ production that is anticipated in late 2025.
Completion of the DFS was the main objective that we want to see VUL achieve. While previously expected in the second half of 2022, VUL says the DFS will be completed in the first quarter of 2023.