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 »
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