CTR selects Aquatech for battery-grade lithium hydroxide production

Controlled Thermal Resources Holdings Inc. (CTR) has engaged Aquatech as its technology partner to deliver the engineering and process plants for the conversion of lithium chloride intermediate product to battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate at the CTR’s Stage 1 Lithium Hydroxide Facility.

Aquatech will utilize a high-purity lithium chloride eluate recovered via Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) from CTR’s geothermal lithium brine resource. The production plant will include multiple process plants that integrate advanced membrane, evaporation, and crystallization technology for the production of refined crystalline lithium hydroxide monohydrate product.

CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen project, located in Imperial County, California, has a projected resource capacity to produce 1,100MW of baseload renewable power and an estimated 300,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) products each year—enough to support the production of more than 5 million standard-sized electric vehicles annually.

CTR and its technology partners recently completed a US$60-million brine optimization program that operated for six months from November 2022 until April 2023. The company’s engineering team improved several process stages, including optimization of the brine preparation unit to recover a high-purity lithium chloride eluate efficiently. The optimization plant, which operated at a steady state for approximately 3,000 hours, was constructed at a 1/10th commercial scale. The Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) unit achieved a 95-97% lithium recovery rate. CTR will utilize Aquatech’s innovative process technology for the final lithium conversion and purification process stage.

Aquatech is a premier process technology leader delivering comprehensive end-to-end solutions for battery-grade lithium production facilities. Aquatech’s services encompass applied testing and development, all the way to project delivery, offered through their ICD Process Technologies division.

The Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power project uses a closed-loop, direct lithium extraction process to recover lithium sustainably from geothermal brine. This method also integrates renewable power and steam into the process to produce battery-grade lithium products with a near-zero carbon footprint. The process requires no open pit mining, evaporation ponds, process tailings, clay leaching pits, or hazardous landfill waste.

CTR intends to commence construction of its Stage 1 Lithium Hydroxide Facility in 2024, with the first lithium hydroxide products due for delivery in 2025.

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