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Title: Preliminary design and analysis of a process for the extraction of lithium from seawater

Preliminary design and analysis of a process for the extraction of lithium from seawater The U.S. demand for lithium by the industrial sector and by a fusion power economy in the future is discussed. For a one million MW(e) CTR (D-T fuel cycle) economy, growing into the beginning of the next century (the years 2000 to 2030), the cumulative demand for lithium is estimated to range from (0.55 to 4.7) x 10/sup 7/ to 1.0 x 10/sup 9/ kg. Present estimates of the available U.S. supply are 6.9 x 10/sup 8/ kg of lithium from mineral resources and 4.0 x 10/sup 9/ kg of lithium from concentrated natural brines. There is, however, a vast supply of lithium in seawater: 2.5 x 10/sup 14/ kg. A preliminary process design for the extraction of lithium from seawater is presented: seawater is first evaporated by solar energy to increase the concentration of lithium and to decrease the concentration of other cations in the bittern which then passes into a Dowex-50 ion exchange bed for cation adsorption. Lithium ions are then eluted with dilute hydrochloric acid forming an aqueous lithium chloride which is subsequently concentrated and electrolyzed. The energy requirement for lithium extraction varies between 0.08 and 2.46 kWh(e)/gm for a range of production rates varying between 10/sup more » 4/ and 10/sup 8/ kg/y; this is small compared to the energy produced from the use of lithium in a CTR having a value of 3400 kWh(e)/g Li. Production cost of the process is estimated to be in the range of 2.2 to 3.2 cents/g Li. As a basis for the process design, it is recommended that a phase equilibria study of the solid--liquid crystallization processes of seawater be conducted. Uncertainties exist in the operation of large solar ponds for concentrating large quantities of seawater. A search for a highly selective adsorbent or extractant for Li from low concentration aqueous solutions should be made. Other physical separation processes such as using membranes should be investigated. 9 tables. (DLC) « less
Authors: ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:OSTI ID: 7351225
Report Number(s):BNL-20535-R; CONF-760112-4
TRN: 76-016280
Resource Type:Conference
Resource Relation:Conference: Symposium on United States lithium resources and requirements by the year 2000, Lakewood, CO, USA, 22 Jan 1976
Research Org:Brookhaven National Lab., Upton, N.Y. (USA)
Country of Publication:United States
Language:English
Subject: 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; 14 SOLAR ENERGY; EVAPORATION; SOLAR DISTILLATION; THERMONUCLEAR REACTOR MATERIALS; LITHIUM; SEPARATION PROCESSES; COST; ELECTROLYSIS; ENERGY DEMAND; ION EXCHANGE; SEAWATER; ALKALI METALS; ELEMENTS; HYDROGEN COMPOUNDS; LYSIS; METALS; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; PHASE TRANSFORMATIONS; WATER 400105* -- Separation Procedures; 700204 -- Fusion Power Plant Technology-- Cooling Systems; 140909 -- Solar Thermal Utilization-- Miscellaneous Solar Applications-- (1980-)