Close

Find topic

Can we en:form you? You can use our filter to find relevant topics. Alternatively our search function or the overview of articles can help you out.

Overview
Filter
Overview
Close

Search

Frequent requests

electrification emission trading energy storage energy transition innovation power stations RWE security of supply
Back to Overview
[post-views]
Scientists intend to fish lithium out of the sea
Stanford University researchers want to use new method to mine the alkali metal

If it weren’t for lithium, we wouldn’t have smartphones, e-bikes or electric vehicles. The light metal can be found in all rechargeable batteries, with demand for this rare natural resource having risen considerably – not least due to the steady expansion of e-mobility.

As reported earlier by en:former, the global search for new sources is on. Most of the known reserves are limited to a handful of regions in South America, China and Australia. This is where the coveted lithium carbonate is mined by drying out the brine in expansive saltwater lakes or from rock formations. German newspaper F.A.Z. recently published an article titled The White Gold of the Seas (in German; free of charge for “F.A.Z.+” readers or with a trial subscription) presenting a new, unconventional extraction method.

Estimates have some 200 billion metric tons of lithium located in the sea

A team headed up by US researcher and physics Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu of world-renowned Stanford University seeks to extract lithium from ocean water. The scientists believe that the world’s seas are home to over 200 billion metric tons of lithium – several times more than on-land reserves. However, lithium carbonate in seawater is present in an extremely low concentration of approximately 0.0002 percent, making its extraction an extremely challenging proposition.

Successful trial runs

The first step entails using an electro-chemical method to store the lithium obtained from seawater in an electrode material. By applying alternating current instead of negative voltage, the positive ions are sucked into the electrode, after which they are shot back out immediately. According to the researchers, after a total of ten such cycles, lithium and sodium can be stored at a ratio of 1:1.

So far, the new lithium extraction method tests conducted by the team of scientists have been limited to the lab. However, if demand continues to rise, lithium could be mined from the sea at some point.

Ask the en:former…

…and put a question to the editorial staff!

via e-mail place feedback
Feedback form







All fields marked with * are required.

Ask the en:former…

…and put a question to the editorial staff!

via E-Mail Place Feedback

up:date

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and stay en:formed.

sign in
Rate now Already rated

share article:
More about Energy transition Climate protection Energy industry