Vulcan produces first lithium chloride from optimization plant

Vulcan Energy Resources announced the Start of Production (SOP) of the first lithium chloride (LiCl) product at Vulcan’s Lithium Extraction Optimization Plant (LEOP) in Landau, Germany, marking the first lithium chemicals domestically produced from a local source in Europe, for Europe.

LEOP is showing strong early results with consistently more than 90% (up to 95%) lithium extraction efficiency from its Adsorption-type Direct Lithium Extraction (A-DLE) unit, replicating what Vulcan has seen in its lab and pilot plant operations, and in line with its commercial plant expectations and Vulcan’s financing model.

The SOP follows more than three years and more than 10,000 hours of successful in-house A-DLE piloting by Vulcan, showing high lithium recoveries and thousands of cycles of adsorbent life with no material degradation.

Representing a more than €40-million investment by Vulcan, LEOP is an optimization, operational training and product qualification testing facility, to enable operational readiness for when the Phase One commercial facility is completed.

Once Phase One commercial production commences, Vulcan estimates that its integrated renewable energy and ZERO CARBON LITHIUM business will produce enough lithium for approximately 500,000 EVs.

Vulcan has proven that the sustainable lithium production process known as A-DLE, which accounts for 10% of global lithium production today, can be successfully applied in the Upper Rhine Valley Brine Field. The Upper Rhine Valley Brine Field in Europe contains Europe’s largest lithium resource and is also a source of geothermal renewable heat.

This will allow Vulcan to produce its lithium using geothermal renewable energy, decarbonizing the carbon footprint of lithium production for battery-electric vehicles.

The LiCl produced by LEOP represents the first lithium chemicals fully produced from a locally sourced raw material, i.e. extracted and then processed locally, at this plant scale in Europe. During hot commissioning and startup of LEOP, a generic aluminate-based lithium adsorbent was used, that has been used before in Vulcan’s lab and pilot plants.

Vulcan’s internally developed high-performance aluminate-based lithium adsorbent VULSORB will be used for the long-term operation.

The next step will be conversion to a battery-grade lithium chemical in Vulcan’s downstream Optimization plant. The LiCl product (40% weight solution) produced from LEOP will be transported to Höchst Industrial Park Frankfurt, where Vulcan is currently completing its CLEOP which will convert the LiCl into battery grade Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate (LHM).