Lithium Recovery from Seawater


Technology to recover lithium from seawater by adsorption method

On May 1, 2022, IH Technology started developing technology to recover lithium from seawater with the cooperation of Ehime University.

What is Lithium

Lithium is a silvery-white soft metal with atomic number 3 and is the lightest element of all metals. It is also the element with the highest ionization tendency.
Lithium is also used in glass, ceramics, grease, refrigerants, chemical reagents, etc., but in recent years, the field of batteries has received particular attention. Lithium-ion batteries are expected to be used in large quantities for electric vehicles, which are expected to spread in the future, and for leveling the power of power sources with unstable output such as solar and wind power generation. .

Lithium resource

Lithium is relatively abundant on the earth, but at present, only a few high-grade lithium minerals and salt lake water (brine water) can be economically extracted, and little lithium is produced in Japan.
On the other hand, a large amount of lithium is dissolved in seawater, and the amount contained in the world’s seawater is 2.6 trillion tons. This is said to be equivalent to approximately 15,000 times the reserves of lithium ore that exist on land.

The technology of IH technology

Although there is a large amount of lithium in the ocean, it is still only 0.17 mg per liter of seawater, and it is not easy to recover this extremely rare lithium.
IH Technology is developing an adsorbent that recovers lithium from seawater using its specialty adsorption technology. We are working on overcoming the following issues to put this adsorbent into practical use.

① Large adsorption capacity
② High adsorption/desorption speed
③ High selectivity for lithium
④ High durability when used repeatedly
⑤ Ease of mass production
⑥ Low cost and stable supply

As climate change countermeasures are called for, it will be important to obtain cheap and abundant renewable energy in order for Japan to develop in the future. And in order to make use of that energy, a powerful battery is essential, and it is necessary to utilize abundant lithium resources for battery production.

Surrounded by the sea, if lithium can be extracted from seawater, it will be possible to overcome global environmental problems and contribute to the world. Please look forward to the completion of IH Technology’s technology for recovering lithium from seawater.