The recovery of lithium from brine using solid-state electrolyte membranes, LiLaTiMOx, (M = Mn, Al)

Project: Research

Project Details


The demand for lithium ions is currently on the rise due to its use in green-energy storage and portable electronic devices. The global lithium demand in 2018 was estimated at 0.28 Mtons of Li2CO3 equivalent and is expected to rise to 1.7 Mtons by 2030. While the earths limited reserve of lithium is being depleted, the ocean contains a significant amount of the metal (5000 times than is found on land) and could serve as a source of lithium to meet the rapidly growing demand. Lithium extraction from seawater is however extremely challenging due to its low concentration and the presence of competing cations such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium ions which are present at high concentrations. The design of highly efficient molecular sieving membranes capable of selective extraction of lithium ions from seawater at an affordable energy cost is thus critical for the sustainability of meeting the rising demand. Solid-state molecular sieves such as FePO4, HMnO4 and H2TiO3 and solid-state electrolyte membranes such as LiLaTiO3 (LLTO) due to their unique crystal structure have been reported for the extraction of lithium from brine. These materials possess lattice frameworks and vacant sites which selectively allow the transport of lithium while rejecting other monovalent and divalent cations. A recent study on the use of LLTO membrane resulted in the significant pre-concentration of lithium ions from seawater which was attributed to the unique framework of the TiO6 octahedral cages on the membrane. Herein, we propose an approach for the extraction of lithium ion from brine using solid-state electrolyte membranes comprising of LiLaTiMOx (M = Mn or Al). The crystalline nature and the lattice framework of MnO6 and AlO6 octahedral cages are expected to stabilize the membrane network and create vacant sites to facilitate the transportation of lithium ions. The fabricated membranes shall be evaluated on a 3-compartment custom-made electrodialysis cell. Key experimental factors shall be optimized to achieve maximum extraction capacity of the membranes. It is expected that this study shall pave the way for the fabrication of electrolyte membranes with multiple frameworks for the effective recovery of lithium ions from brine.
Effective start/end date3/04/222/04/24


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