The German expert magazine “Engineer”, which deals with the topic of lithium, reminds that in the world, at a time when the automobile industry is facing a complete turnaround and the transition to electric cars, everyone in the world is fighting for lithium, including Germany.
The magazine reminds that there are five companies in Europe that produce lithium-ion batteries, and 15 should be opened in the coming years, and only in Germany, eight such factories are planned, among which is “Leclanche” in Willstadt near Offenburg, which already produces.
Only in the province of Brandenburg, three Tesla factories are being established, Mikrovast and Farasis.
All these factories will be able to process lithium from Germany in the foreseeable future, and not only from recycled old batteries, the “Engineer” magazine points out.
In Harz and in numerous other places with thermal springs, that ore should be obtained, which has so far mostly originated from Australia, Chile and China.
A pilot plant for domestic lithium production is being set up in Brussels near Karlsruhe.
At that location, the electricity operator EnBW operates a geothermal plant for the production of electricity and heating.
The water, which is pumped from a depth of 2,542 meters, is 131 degrees warm and rich in lithium.
150 milligrams are obtained per liter, which is a value that is close to many sources abroad, the magazine points out.
EnBW and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are working to develop a technology that could produce lithium from these sources.
If they are successful in that, only from this source, about 800 tons of lithium could be obtained, which is currently, after being used for thermal energy purposes, returned to the country.
According to the “Engineer”, that amount of lithium is enough to produce batteries for 80,000 Tesla Model S cars.
However, the entire needs of Germany cannot be covered by that, says Professor Jochen Kolb from the Department of Geochemistry of the Institute for Applied Geochemical Sciences.
Shorter transport routes and avoidance of irresponsible pumping abroad, production in Germany, would be beneficial for the state of the environment.
Research has shown that there are further thermal springs with lithium, primarily in the northern basin of Germany and the Lower Rhine Valley.
In Cinwald, a part of Altenberg, near the frequent border, the company “Deutsche Lithium GmbH” in Freiberg is preparing to get lithium from the mines.
Together with the scientists of the Technical University of Freiberg in Saxony, this company discovered one of the largest lithium deposits in Europe, states “Engineer”.
It is assumed that up to 125,000 tons of lithium could be obtained at that place, which, according to the director of the company, Armin Miller, is enough to equip about 20 million vehicles with batteries.
The company intends to build a two-kilometer-long ramp to a deep ore deposit due to the extraction of the mineral Cinvaldit, which contains 1.59 percent lithium.
570,000 tons of Cinvaldite should be mined every year for more than 30 years.
The processing plant will be located at the overhead entrance to the ramp.
Powerful crushers grind the ore, and then it decomposes at a temperature of 1,000 degrees and mixes it into water.
Water-insoluble lithium fluoride in the ore is separated from the residue by precipitation.
Every year, 5,000 tons of lithium compounds should be obtained in this way.
The processing of Cinvaldite has already been tested in a pilot plant in Ibu-Tek in Weimar, a provider of thermal process engineering services and a specialist in rotary kilns, the “Engineer” points out.
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