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Tech Breakthrough Could Revolutionize Lithium Extraction

A research team is close to patenting a new technique to extract lithium from brine that could revolutionize the lithium extraction process and potentially cut the production costs of one of the key components of lithium-ion batteries.   

A team of researchers from Australia’s Monash University, Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Texas at Austin, have developed a new filtering technology to extract lithium ions from brine. This technology has a much higher recovery rate than current extraction techniques and cuts the extraction process time down to just a few hours from several months to years in current lithium extraction.

The new way to ‘mine’ lithium could significantly cut lithium costs for batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and stationary energy storage, giving another impetus to electric mobility and the energy transition.  

The international research team developed a technology that mimics the filtering function of biological cell membranes. The scientists came up with a synthetic Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) membrane capable of filtering lithium ions very fast and in a highly selective manner, the team said in their paper published in the journal Nature Materials.  

“These findings suggest ways to develop ion selective devices for efficient ion separation, energy reservation and power generation,” the authors said in the study.

“Based on this new research, we could one day have the capability to produce simple filters that will take hours to extract lithium from brine, rather than several months to years,” Professor Huanting Wang, co-lead research author and Professor of Chemical Engineering at Monash University, said in a statement. Related: Saudi Arabia Prepares To Flood The Market With Even More Oil

The new technology is also much more efficient than extracting lithium from ponds via a solar evaporation process, according to the researchers.

Studies have shown a lithium recovery rate of around 90 percent for the new technology—much higher than the current 30-percent recovery rate during the solar evaporation process of lithium extraction, Professor Huanting Wang added.   

“We’re pleased that our international research collaboration has made a breakthrough that could improve the supply of lithium. This is important for enabling electric vehicles and grid integration of renewable energy sources,” CSIRO and Monash University Associate Professor Matthew Hill said.

The new technology is subject of a worldwide patent application filed last year, Monash University said, noting that Energy Exploration Technologies, Inc (EnergyX) has executed a worldwide exclusive license to commercialize the technology.

According to EnergyX, the direct extraction via a membrane technology could extract lithium in a few days compared to 18 months in lithium evaporation ponds. In addition, lithium ponds use 18,000 gallons of freshwater per ton, while the new technology doesn’t use freshwater, potentially saving water resources in lithium brine-rich areas such as the so-called lithium triangle in Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. In price comparison, the direct membrane filtering of lithium, the so-called lithium refinery, costs half the cost of lithium evaporation ponds, EnergyX says. Related: Ice Cream: Scotland’s Latest Renewable Win?

“This breakthrough invention will literally change the way lithium is produced and how we power our future,” Teague Egan, founder and CEO at EnergyX, said in Monash University’s press release.

Faster and cheaper lithium extraction could help further reduce EV battery pack costs, which have already fallen a lot over the past decade.

EV battery pack costs have dropped from as much as $1,100 per kWh ten years ago to just $156 per kWh last year, according to BloombergNEF. Meanwhile, the energy density of lithium ion battery cells has tripled over the last ten years, BloombergNEF has estimated. 


Lower costs of lithium extraction could make EVs cheaper and help them bridge the gap in prices with conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles faster than previously expected, thus spurring increased electric mobility adoption.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Aceof Spades on March 11 2020 said:
    Mr. Tom Hanks
    6 N. Fk. Canyon Rd.
    Ketchum, ID 83340

    Dear Mr. Hanks,
    As a Trump supporter, I was very disappointed when I found out that you and Dwayne Johnson backed out of running in 2020. In my opinion, the only candidates who have a chance of beating President Trump in 2020 are Dwayne and Oprah. It is admirable that you were trying to persuade each of these non-politicians to run instead of cozying up to some politician to be his or her running mate. You know, I thought that I would never agree with Michael Moore on anything....but he is absolutely right...only a non-politician can beat President Trump in 2020. The American people elected President Trump because the American people did not want a politician.
    It looks like Oprah is out, and I don't blame her. I’m glad that she’s out because she deserves to be treated well….which is not what happens in an election. Dwayne is much tougher (Hilliary wasn't tough...she was medicated) but he seems to think that he is not ready. However, if Dwayne ever wants a shot at being the President of the United States then he has to do it now. Why? Because your Democratic party is still in a state of disarray. Once order is completely restored, a non-politician will not have any chances of ever being nominated by the Democrats. I think the bigger problem for Dwayne than beating President Trump will be securing the nomination from a very corrupt Democratic party that thinks it should dictate who the nominee should be regardless of what the American people think.
    Let me ask you this: Had the Democratic party not cheated Bernie out of the nomination, do you honestly think that Dr. Stein and Gary Johnson would have wanted to take votes away from Bernie? I think that they would have sat the election out. If those 3% of the votes would have gone to Bernie....then we would not have a Justice Gorsuch…we would not have a Justice Kavanaugh….and we would definitely not have military on our border. But apparently your party’s leaders felt that they knew better than the people about who the Democratic candidate should be. But in this next election, Bernie has no chance against President Trump.
    Let me also ask you this: Do you think that Justice Ginsburg will last another 5 years? Personally, I think she will outlast Justice Sotomayor….but don’t worry….I’m sure your Democratic party (and not the American people) will select the candidate most capable of beating President Trump in 2020 to make sure that the next two Supreme Court picks will not go to the Republicans.
    So who will the Democrats nominate (not by popular choice) for 2020? Uncle Joe who wants to take President Trump behind the gym? Kamala Harris who compares our law enforcement to ISIS? The White Obama who runs away from the police...drunk? Not a very good image. By the way, no one on the Right believes that White Obama is a moderate….and we won’t get fooled again. How about Booker who enjoys yelling at women in front of the Senate? I’d like to take him behind the gym and make him gender-neutral. Dwayne is bigger and better than all of those politicians…he would not say these things and he respects women….so he’s already better prepared for the Presidency than any of your favorite politicians. I think the only politician on the left that has any credibility is Mr. Bloomberg. In fact, if you and Dwayne win, I would definitely recommend adding Mr. Bloomberg to your Cabinet….knowledge like that is priceless (I worked on Wall Street for a bunch of years.)
    Dwayne could easily beat anyone on the Democrat A-list in a popularity contest. I remember when Dwayne first starred in WWF and Vince McMahon's soap opera writers tried to make him one of the bad guys...and the public just would not buy it...they loved Dwayne no matter what he was told to do. Let me ask you this: How many Deplorables would hate seeing Dwayne in the White House? It is hillaryous that the Democrats would rather lose the election than nominate someone who is not a Swampthing.
    So is it Dwayne’s excuse that he is not ready? No one is ever 100% ready to be hold the most important job on a planet. It is impossible for anyone to educate himself or herself sufficiently for this position. No one is that smart. This is why a President must have advisors. This is why a President has the cabinet. Please tell Dwayne not to be a quitter for 2020…because your party will use it against him the next time he decides to run. Dwayne is in his prime….and the time is right…now.
    So again, the Democrats are in a brief state of confusion, but they will restore order within their party and when that happens it will be a cold day in hell if they ever allow a non-politician to be their nominee. They will probably win in 2024 if they lose in 2020, but by then we might have two more SCOTUS picks. Personally, I'm hoping for a Justice Lee from Utah.
    So, Tom, are you ready to accept the reality of FOUR young conservative Supreme Court Justices? How about the Wall? (to be continued)
  • Aceof Spades on March 11 2020 said:
    (Continued letter to Tom Hanks)

    How about Europe alienating itself from the USA? I prefer Russia anyway so that works for me just fine. I also applauded President Trump in the way he handled the crisis with Saudi Arabia…and I hope we will continue to be close allies with the Saudis. What the heck was Khashoggi thinking??? That his boss the Bozo would have his back? Anyway, there are no real journalists at the Washington Compost…only propaganda pushers and socialist master debaters.

    The question is…what would you and Dwayne do if this happened during your administration? Would you join with our European allies in punishing and severing ties with Saudi Arabia or would you grin and bear it and forget about it…and let the almighty dollar rule your soul? Six more years and we’re not going to have any more European allies…so thank you Tom and Dwayne for sitting it out. Europe is being foolish and irrational by turning its back on the Saudis. Does Europe really think electric cars will save it? Look at all the fires in California…thank you Elon Musk for overloading the already obsolete electrical grid with your supercharging stations (one TESLA draws as much current as several homes during charging…did I mention that I chaired one ASCE committee during the development of the infrastructure report card?)….and now 100 people are dead…but that’s still the good news about electric cars…compared to what the bad news is. Norway used to have one of the lowest cancer rates on the planet….but not any more. Cancers such as colorectal are the new epidemic in Norway…perhaps the Norwegians just decided to have a lot of anaI sex all of a sudden and sitting on top of 500HP electric motors like many people do in Norway’s #1 best selling luxury car has nothing to do with it. Good luck to Europe with the entire going electric thing….a cell phone is nothing compared to the EM fields generated by a HUUUGE electric motor and power inverter…and Obama’s BFF (they spend Valentine’s nights together, scheming their electric car fantasies) stuffs both right under the seat with no shielding. The number of Californians with cancer has also been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years….is that why you need all those illegals (who cannot afford a TESLA)…to make the overall cancer statistic not look so bad? Anyway, let me get back on topic….it’s just a shame that all those fires could have been prevented.

    I will say it again....you and Dwayne will have a tougher time obtaining your party's nomination than beating President Trump in the popularity contest that we call the Presidential Election. Dwayne is in the prime of his life...more popular than ever. Furthermore, your chances of being able to triumph over the dirty politics of the Democratic party (and secure the nomination that the people will want) will diminish after 2020 when the Democratic party restores unity (ie, becomes 100% socialist).

    It is up to you Tom to convince Dwayne to get back in the game...or you could decide to just sit it out and get another 4 years of President Trump. I hate to say it but your health will deteriorate just like Justice's Sotomayor's...so 2020 could be the only realistic opportunity for a Johnson-Hanks ticket…but what an opportunity it could be! I am sorry about your health issues, but then Dwayne also has to realize that his heart can’t continue to work so hard without future consequences… hopefully he will be as fortunate as Honorable Governor Schwarzenegger in all the medical procedures that he will need…and the steroid use earlier on in life kinda seals that fate. I really like Arnold….and believe me…he knows who I am….just ask Jay Leno.

    Folks will look at the Johnson-Hanks run you introduced on SNL as an original and honest idea if you stick with it. I'm not sure if Dwayne will ever be taken seriously again about his Presidential aspirations if he tries to run with someone else after 2020...and your Democratic party will shut the door on Dwayne even if he tries....just as they will try to do so this time... but you already seem to have a foot through the door...even Michael Moore thinks so...and all you need to do is to persuade Dwayne to think about this...long and hard...to make the right choice. The momentum is still yours. If you snooze, you lose.

    So why on earth would a die-hard Trump supporter like me want Dwayne Johnson to run against President Trump if Dwayne has the best odds of winning? Why would I want the Democratic party to nominate the one person who can beat President Trump? Surely this must be some trick! AND why would you ever trust the opinion of a person who helped President Trump win?

    But this is no trick. It is difficult to explain, but it has nothing to do with any of the possible reasons you may be thinking of. I am in no way disappointed with President Trump (although I really enjoy exchanging kisses with Ann Coulter…the things we must do to turn women on…and Ann is absolutely PHENOMENAL)...to be continued..
  • Aceof Spades on March 11 2020 said:
    (letter to Tom Hanks concluded)

    and I will support President Trump 100% even if you and Dwayne are somehow able to challenge him in 2020 by getting past the Democratic party’s blockade. But I can also tell you this, I will honestly celebrate if you are able to get past the dishonest Democrats to secure your party’s nomination...plus your nomination would be a victory for many of us Trump supporters who want to see non-politicians in office...and I can guarantee you that many of us will sit out the 2020 election if you and Dwayne succeed….but not me….I will hit hard (in a non-violent way of course) no matter who the nominee is….just like I did in 2016.

    The Democratic leadership definitely does not want to someone like Dwayne because he will bring the Democratic party back closer to the middle. Is Dwayne still an independent? Perhaps you have given up on Dwayne because of this. Your loss….and the Democratic Party’s loss. Perhaps Dwayne wants to run as a Republican one day….that would be awesome. The Republicans are lousy in blocking non-politicians from being their Presidential nominees. After all, President Reagan was an actor and President Trump used to be a Democrat and an Independent. If Dwayne is sticking to his independence, then please forget everything I have said (except for the TESLA cancer that the leaders in California tricked people into buying without first making sure that the grid is updated to handle the additional load…and now a lot of people perished in the worst possible way as a result.) Good luck with a drunk White Obama socialist on a skateboard…fleeing from the cops.

    December 01, 2018

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