Keeping the ‘white gold rush’ green

MBHEs and how they are increasing efficiencies during lithium extraction

In light of the rapidly expanding demand for batteries, many companies across the supply chain are scrambling to ramp up production.

Increasing production can be challenging at the best of times. Yet when companies are forced to juggle new process technologies, uncertain regulatory frameworks and pushback from environmental groups, the challenges can become unmanageable.

Albert BedellRecently, Albert Bedell, Regional Sales Director, Solex Thermal Science, was invited by ProcessWest Magazine to provide perspective on how these challenges are impacting the lithium market.

Included in his discussion, Bedell discusses how new entrants in both hard rock and brine production are facing increasing scrutiny, and, in some cases, outright cancellation of their projects due to environmental concerns. "Companies cannot simply ride on the green coattails of the energy transition, and must diligently work to ensure they are acting as environmental leaders," he says.

Two of the primary concerns in lithium extraction are water use (in the case of brine sources) and energy use (in the case of hard rock). 

What can be done? Bedell offers that one path forward would be to look for proven solutions from other industries that could be applied to the issues facing lithium producers to incrementally improve the existing processes.

Specifically, he points to moving bed heat exchangers (MBHEs) that use vertical plate technology to indirectly heat, cool or dry bulk solids as a potential solution to both brine and hard rock-based lithium producers.

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This entry was last updated on 2022-6-14

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