Standard Lithium developed a system for extracting lithium from brine found in oil wells.  Site testing for the system occurred in the Smackover play in Arkansas and the company says it will move the pilot project forward. 

Standard Lithium expands Smackover brine pilot project

Standard Lithium Ltd. says its pilot project to extract lithium from brine found in Arkansas oil wells is progressing and the company is now developing and building a large-scale pilot plant for deployment at the project site.

The company also says it has been successfully performing tests to selectively crystallize ‘battery-grade’ lithium carbonate directly from the concentrated lithium chloride solutions that have been produced by the process.

“This test work has been successful in making high purity lithium carbonate material, greater than 99.5% purity,” Standard Lithium said in a press release.

The Vancouver-based company along with its technology partners are currently fabricating a pilot scale crystallization plant.  The plant will be capable of running continuously and will serve as proof-of-concept that Standard Lithium’s proprietary crystallization technology can be used in place of existing OEM crystallization technologies.

For the past year, the company’s scientific advisory team has been developing and optimizing proprietary lithium extraction and crystallization technologies on brines found in the Smackover oil play.

Now, the company says it is “at the stage where the process flowsheet is sufficiently tested and proven to allow procurement and fabrication to commence on the full-scale pilot plant”.

Dr. Andy Robinson, President and COO of Standard Lithium says  “all project activities are aligned towards deploying the full-scale modular Pilot plant in the first part of 2019.”

According to Standard Lithium, the pilot project has shown that lithium can be selectively extracted from raw Smackover brine and be converted into a concentrated and substantially purified lithium chloride solution.  It has also displayed that the lithium-loaded sorbent material can be continuously regenerated and recycled to the extraction stage, achieving efficiencies of over 90 per cent.

The success of the pilot project has spurred the company to design a large-scale lithium extraction pilot plant and procure long lead-time equipment for the project.

Once fabrication of the pilot plant has been completed by Burlington Ontario’s Zeton Inc., it will be shipped to the project site in southern Arkansas for installation, commissioning and operation.

Initial site investigation and civil/mechanical engineering design work have commenced at the Project site. The company says it expects that all site preparation and brine/utility interconnections will be completed well in advance of deployment of the pilot plant modules to the project site.