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Technology of metal extraction from water

AmericaScientists here are testing a method of using magnetic nanoparticles to extract important minerals like lithium from a variety of water sources.

PNNL's lithium filtration system.  Photo: PNNL

PNNL’s lithium filtration system. Image: PNNL

Lithium is a key ingredient in many electronic and energy technologies, including ultralight lithium-ion batteries that power everything from cell phones to electric vehicles. The global market for lithium could be worth as much as $8.2 billion by 2028. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s (PNNL) Energy Division’s patent-pending technology does more than just deliver. giving the United States the opportunity to produce its own lithium and many other valuable materials, but also making the production process faster and less expensive.

PNNL is developing magnetic nanoparticles surrounded by a well-adsorbed shell that attaches to lithium and many other metals in water in a variety of industrial processes. These sources may include water from a geothermal power plant or water ejected from near the ground during the production of gas or oil. Magnetic nanoparticles can also be used with wastewater from desalination plants or seawater.

After these tiny iron-containing particles are added to the water, they bind tightly to the lithium in the water. Then, with the help of a magnet, the nanoparticles can be collected within minutes with the included lithium and ready for easy filtration. After filtering the lithium, the nanoparticle can continue to be charged and reused. The technology could replace conventional lithium purification methods such as pumping groundwater into large ponds to wait for evaporation. The process can take months, even years, and affects groundwater management in arid areas.

PNNL is working with Moselle Technologies to perfect the technology, apply for licensing and test it at several locations. For example, the team at PNNL is testing a magnetic separator system that has potential applications in oil and gas refining. In addition to Moselle, they also work with many other commercial partners to assess technology use outcomes in Nevada and Canada.

An Khang (According to Sci Tech Daily)

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