Lithium extraction in Germany: NANO reports

  • 10 Sep 2021
  • by lk

In its TV report of Sept. 10, 2021, the 3sat science magazine NANO reports on the possibilities of lithium extraction in Germany. Of particular importance: lithium extraction from hot deep waters. At the geothermal site in Bruchsal, 125 °C hot geothermal water is extracted from a depth of approximately 2,500 m. The water contains 150 to 200 milliliters of lithium.

Ongoing research work on lithium extraction in Bruchsal

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the plant operator EnBW is working with partners in the UnLimited research project to investigate which process is most effective for extracting lithium from the thermal water.

One promising approach involves adsorption processes that use lithium-selective adsorbents. These include manganese oxide, through whose sieve structure more than 95% of the dissolved lithium can be selectively extracted from the thermal water, as shown by the laboratory tests conducted by the joint venture partner KIT.

The first prototype of the lithium extraction plant is to be constructed in Bruchsal at the turn of the year. Due to the high availability of the geothermal plant of over 8,000 operating hours per year, the amount of lithium extracted at the Bruchsal site is sufficient to produce around 20,000 car batteries, according to EnBW.

Demand in the e-mobility sector continues to rise

Last year, 2,000 tons of lithium were used for electric vehicles registered in Germany alone - and the trend is rising. Any regional and, above all, sustainable lithium extraction thus makes an important contribution to achieving the expansion plans for cell production capacity in Germany of up to 30,000 t of lithium in 2030. Thus, the extraction of lithium from hot deep waters is a promising component to achieve this objective.

Source: 3sat NANO