Lithium is an essential component of many electronic and energy technologies , Include as mobile phone And light lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles . To 2028 year , The global lithium market is expected to reach 82 Billion dollars , But the United States produces very little lithium .
PNNL The technology being patented not only has the potential to provide the United States with an opportunity to produce more of its own lithium and other key materials , And it also provides a faster and cheaper way .PNNL Magnetic nanoparticles are being developed , It is surrounded by an adsorbent shell , It can adsorb lithium and other metals in water related to various industrial processes .
These sources may include water from geothermal power stations , It's called geothermal brine , Or water extracted from the ground during the production of oil or natural gas . These particles can also be used in the sewage of seawater desalination plants , Even directly from the sea . Once these tiny iron-based particles are added to the water , Lithium will be drawn out of the water and combined with them . then , With the help of magnets , Nanoparticles can be collected in just a few minutes , Lithium also “ Got a ride ”, No longer suspended in liquid , Can easily extract . After lithium is extracted , Recharged nanoparticles can be reused .
This technology provides a promising alternative to traditional extraction methods , That is, pumping groundwater to large 、 In an expensive evaporation tank . These processes can take months or even years , It also affects groundwater management in arid areas where these methods are mainly deployed .
although PNNL The process starts working immediately , But today's process is a bit like waiting for a pot of lemonade to evaporate , It is hoped that the powdery mixture precipitated at the bottom can be recovered . If this technology is deployed in geothermal power plants , The value of recovered lithium may increase the cost-effectiveness of this form of renewable energy , This energy uses water to capture heat deep below the earth's surface , Then convert it into electricity .
PNNL Is working with Moselle Technology companies cooperate to further develop this technology , The company has been licensed and plans to pilot in several places .
This work and follow-up activities are how the National Laboratory cooperates with commercial entities , A good example of turning laboratory research into real-world solutions . for example ,PNNL Researchers at are conducting long-term testing of the magnetic separator system , So that it can be used in the process of oil and gas exploitation , This can create an additional source of revenue to offset production costs .
except Moselle, They are working with other business partners , Evaluate the use of this technology in lithium resources in Nevada and Canada .
Last , Focus on a range of different applications ,PNNL Researchers are customizing the shell of nanoparticles , To specifically target energy technologies 、 Medical imaging equipment 、 Other products used in electronic products have commercial value 、 Strategic elements and minerals .
for example , They are in contact with Moselle and Geo40 cooperation , Explore the possibility of extracting cesium and antimony from geothermal brine at a geothermal plant in New Zealand .
PNNL Our new method is really amazing . It provides fast 、 The hope of extracting key minerals in a cost-effective way . Innovation like this may be worth the money .