Rhode Island Patent of the Month – March 2022

Lithium is a key element for high-energy rechargeable batteries. This element can be found in multiple liquid solutions including brines and leachate solutions from minerals and recycled products. Lilac Solutions, Inc. has developed an extraction method that takes advantage of these brine resources.

Traditional extraction methods require large evaporation ponds which are damaging to the environment, difficult to start up, and vulnerable to weather. Even when running, lithium recovery is slow and produces low purity product. 

Lilac Solution has completely redesigned these extraction methods using inorganic ion exchange materials. These materials absorb lithium ions from a liquid resource while releasing hydrogen ions. It then releases the lithium ions into an acid while absorbing hydrogen ions. This process can be repeated using the same ion exchange materials while the lithium ions are moved further into processing.

The company developed their own ion exchange beads and modules that work specifically for lithium. These beads are made by mixing the ion exchange particles, a matrix and filler material. The beads can then be loaded into tanks where the brine flows through. Once the beads are saturated with lithium, hydrochloric acid flushes out the lithium, producing lithium chloride. It’s this product which moves into processing to become either lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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