Vulcan Produces Europe's First Green Lithium Chloride

12.04.2024 - Australia-headquartered lithium producer Vulcan Energy Resources has started production of lithium chloride (LiCl) at its lithium extraction optimization plant (LEOP) in Landau, Germany. The company started the plant up in November last year.

According to Vulcan, this is the first lithium domestically produced from a local source in Europe, adding that by using direct lithium extraction by adsorption (A-DLE), the company was able to achieve a consistent efficiency of over 90% in the extraction of lithium from geothermal brine.

This result had already been achieved in Vulcan's German laboratories and pilot plants in Insheim, where the extraction process was successfully tested over three years.

Vulcan said that it invested more than €40 million in the LEOP, a facility that will primarily be used to optimize operational processes, carry out product quality tests and train and prepare the production team for the operation of the commercial plant.

In the next production step, the lithium chloride will be processed into battery-ready lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM). This will take place in the central lithium electrolysis optimization plant (CLEOP), which is currently being completed at the German industrial park in Frankfurt-Höchst. Vulcan expects the facility to be commissioned in the summer of this year. The LEOP and CLEOP optimization plants are the forerunners of the planned commercial plants, which will have a production capacity of 24,000 t/y of LHM, Vulcan said.

Vulcan wants to implement its Zero Carbon Lithium project in several phases. As part of the first project phase of commercial production, the company plans produce enough lithium per year for around 500,000 electric vehicles. The Upper Rhine Velley is home to the largest lithium deposit in Europe and is also a source of renewable heat. Vulcan said that it will use both resources to decarbonize lithium production for electric car batteries in Europe with the help of renewable energy from geothermal energy.

"Our plant is equipped with state-of-the-art and leading technology to demonstrate the efficiency of our A-DLE process and its environmental benefits. I am pleased to see that we have achieved the expected extraction efficiency at LEOP and I would like to especially thank our team on site who have made this possible" said Cris Moreno, managing director & CEO of Vulcan.