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Schlumberger and Panasonic have announced that they will collaborate on a new battery-grade-lithium production process that they say will pave the way for improved lithium production to help meet the expected surge in demand from the fast-growing global electric vehicle (EV) market. The announcement came from the Schlumberger New Energy arm of Schlumberger and from Panasonic Energy of North America, a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America. The lithium-extraction and -production process will be used by Schlumberger at the Nevada pilot plant of its Neolith Energy venture. According to Schlumberger, Neolith Energy's approach uses a differentiated direct-lithium-extraction process to produce high-purity, battery-grade lithium material while reducing production time from more than a year to weeks. The company also said the process significantly reduces groundwater use and physical footprint vs. conventional evaporative methods of extracting lithium.
Schlumberger New Energy will develop a lithium- extraction pilot plant in Clayton Valley, Nevada, under its newly launched NeoLith Energy venture. The move brings the company into the burgeoning battery metals business as demand from electric vehicle makers and other technology companies surges. S&P Global forecasts production of the battery metal is set to almost triple by 2025 to more than 1.5 million metric tons. Two lithium compounds used for battery cathode production are lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide, with carbonate currently making up the bulk of usage. In brine production, lithium chloride is extracted from alkaline brine lakes before being converted to carbonate, according to S&P.
Historically, lithium batteries have been a known safety hazard in the downhole industry. The electrolyte used in these batteries is highly corrosive and the lithium metal is highly flammable. Mishandling these batteries can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. Exposure to hazardous chemicals can occur if a battery has leaked, vented, or exploded. Most notably, thermal runaway events and battery explosions caused by user error or by harsh environmental conditions have been known to lead to casualties, some very serious in nature.
As in automotive, the use of lithium-ion batteries onboard vessels is increasing rapidly. Whether in hybrid or all-electric mode, the technology makes possible significant to even game-changing reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. However, as their use increases, so too will negative impacts both before installation on the ship and after removal. At the front end, this paper will explore the abundance of the raw materials, their mining and related ecological and societal concerns. At the back end, reuse markets and recycling will be covered including cost drivers and emissions. Recycling will examine the methods and their efficiencies, module disassembly problems and neutralization of remaining charge. The paper will close with environmental risks in disposal.
Leijon, Jennifer (Uppsala University) | Anttila, Sara (Uppsala University) | Frost, Anna E. (Uppsala University) | Kontos, Sofia (Uppsala University) | Lindahl, Olof (Uppsala University) | Engström, Jens (Uppsala University) | Leijon, Mats (Uppsala University) | Boström, Cecilia (Uppsala University)
To our knowledge, this paper represents an initial study of a novel concept in freshwater and lithium extraction from desalination powered off-grid by marine renewable energy sources. The project’s background is interest in the local supply of lithium for the growing numbers of electric vehicles. The desalination technologies investigated are reverse osmosis and electrodialysis. The collocation of the marine resources, possibly available and future technical solutions, and demands for freshwater and lithium suggest that the proposed system could be interesting to study further.
Leijon, Jennifer (Uppsala University) | Anttila, Sara (Uppsala University) | Frost, Anna E. (Uppsala University) | Kontos, Sofia (Uppsala University) | Engström, Jens (Uppsala University) | Leijon, Mats (Uppsala University / Chalmers University of Technology) | Boström, Cecilia (Uppsala University)
A novel concept is presented on lithium extraction of desalination from marine renewable energy sources. The wave- and marine current energy converters designed at Uppsala University in Sweden are evaluated as potential drivers of desalination processes, off-grid, for both local lithium extraction and freshwater production. Also, aqueous mining for other minerals is briefly discussed. Calculations, estimating the freshwater and lithium production from desalination plants powered by marine renewable energy sources, are presented. It is estimated that a medium-sized desalination plant, producing 7500 m3/day, could also generate 1.28 kg lithium daily, utilizing reverse osmosis desalination and electrodialysis, powered by marine energy converter parks. To the best of our knowledge, this concept has never previously been suggested in literature.
What are the opportunities of the oceans or rivers? Renewable energy sources (RES) constantly flowing and moving cross-borders, transporting ships or minerals; water which could be used for drinking or agriculture. About 70 % of our planet is covered by water and around 40 % of all people live within 100 km of the coasts (United Nations, 2017). However, a primary concern of many countries is safe access to clean freshwater; a problem which is often combined with the lack of electricity, food and overall security (Gulati, Jacobs, Jooste, Naidoo, & Fakir, 2013).
Desalination of saltwater can be used to produce freshwater, and the residue (by-product) of the desalination process is a high-salinity solute, called brine or concentrate. The brine consists of different minerals. Technical solutions to decrease water scarcity and produce freshwater (i.e. desalination) could potentially be used for aqueous mining, extracting e.g. lithium. With ongoing and emerging electrification of the transportation sector, there is an increased interest in batteries and battery materials for electric vehicles (EVs), such as lithium (Narins, 2017)(Speirs, Jamie; Contestabile, Marcello; Houari, Yassine; Gross, 2014). Connecting more RES to the grid, with their inherent intermittency, may lead to an increased use of balancing energy storage units, e.g. batteries. Thus, recent research suggest that lithium is a critical metal for the coming battery demand for technical development of electromobility (Speirs, Jamie; Contestabile, Marcello; Houari, Yassine; Gross, 2014), portable electronic devices and energy storage for smart grids (Georgakarakos, Mayfield, & Hathway, 2018)(Zubi, Dufo-López, Carvalho, & Pasaoglu, 2018). That is, potentially, useful materials could be extracted from the desalination brine (Mero, 1965)(Swain, 2017), possibly lithium for the battery industry, with the clear applications for car manufacturers as well as the power sector.
Aluminum Alloys are widely used for aircraft application in both commercial and military fields. The increasing development in performance and efficiency has led to Al-Cu-Li Alloys, as these are capable of being lighter while achieving similar or superior levels of mechanical properties of their commonly used counterparts. The need to evaluate new alloys such as Al 2060 to their susceptibility to corrosion, especially Exfoliation Corrosion (EFC), becomes evident as this corrosion mechanism is known to be one of the main reasons of failure of aluminum alloys. The aim of this paper is to use electrochemical and surface analysis techniques to evaluate the susceptibility to EFC in Al 2060 in the Exfoliation Corrosion (EXCO) solution proposed in ASTM G34, propose a mechanism and describe the different stages of the damage evolution of the material. Electrochemical techniques include Open Circuit Potential (OCP), Cyclic Potentiodynamic Polarization (CPP), Galvanostatic Polarization (GS), Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) and Electrochemical Noise (EN).
While there are rechargeable batteries rated to 125ºC, many service companies prefer not to use them because a rating of 150ºC is preferable. The industry typically uses one-time-use lithium primary batteries. According to Robert Estes, manager of emerging technology at Baker Hughes, lithium batteries have been used in the oil field for 30 years or more and they are now fairly reliable up to somewhat above 150ºC. However, he said, "lithium metal melts at around 180ºC. So if you go much above 150ºC with a standard lithium thionyl chloride one-time-use primary cell, then you risk getting the temperature externally as well as the internal temperature of the battery to the point where it will melt the lithium metal. And that can be a risk factor."
Beginning in the latter portion of the 20th Century and continuing into this century, our society has witnessed the growth in the production and use of portable electronic devices. This includes equipment and tools that are used within the workplace (e.g., cordless tools, cell phones, tablet/slate computers, e-readers, and more). The demand for these portable devices continues to grow. This demand triggers the need for the batteries powering these devices to be more powerful, longer lasting, and able to work in more environments.
Lithium batteries have quickly become the battery of choice for just about every type of portable electronic device. Lithium batteries have become the most common battery type to fulfill these demands. This, in part, is due to the unique characteristics of this battery type’s chemistry. Lithium batteries have the highest energy level (i.e. energy/unit weight and energy/unit volume). Also, due to the absence of water, the batteries have a fairly large operating temperature range (e.g., ≥ -55°C and ≤ 150°C).
Like other batteries, there are similar hazards that must be addressed from a SHE perspective. However, due to their unique properties, lithium batteries are subject to hazardous materials transportation, environmental, and workplace safety regulations. This adds to the challenge of proper management-use/handling, storage, disposal, and transportation.
Whether a company ships a finished product or component that contains a lithium cell or battery or employees use or travel with equipment containing lithium batteries, there are specific regulations that apply to their use, handling, transportation, and disposal. In all of these situations, safety, health and environment (SH&E) managers are on the front line. They must assess each activity and assure each is done in compliance with the latest requirements.
What’s more, technology is changing quicker than our regulations can keep up. As more is learned about the risks, new or revised regulations seem to come out monthly. The SH&E manager must be aware of pending changes and assist their organization commit resources to meet new obligations without unnecessary delay or cost.
Reif, Ronald H. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)) | Liffers, Mark (Around The Clock Compliance Inc. ) | Forrester, Ned (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)) | Peal, Ken (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI))
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) uses primary and secondary lithium batteries in a variety of oceanographic research applications. Primary (nonrechargeable) lithium batteries generally contain lithium metal, while most secondary (rechargeable) lithium batteries contain an ionic form of lithium (lithium-ion). Because lithium batteries contain more energy per unit weight or a relatively higher energy density than conventional batteries, they have become popular and widely used in various applications. The same properties that result in a high energy density, however, also contribute to potential hazards if the energy is released at a fast, uncontrolled rate.
Multiple external and internal events involving primary and secondary lithium batteries (including hot cells, fires, ruptured cells and leaking cells) prompted WHOI to develop and implement a comprehensive lithium battery safety program. This article describes lithium batteries and applications, hazards, controls, key elements of a comprehensive safety program, emergency procedures, waste management and transportation requirements.