EMILI: Imerys produces the first laboratory samples of lithium hydroxide
A campaign of laboratory tests has made it possible to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide using granite from the Beauvoir quarry. These encouraging results confirm Imerys’ technological capabilities and the effectiveness of the processes put in place for the EMILI project.
Following several months of tests, the first samples of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from the Beauvoir quarry have been produced. The trials were carried out in external laboratories equipped with the requisite technical skills and material. “The goal was to demonstrate the process for producing battery-grade lithium hydroxide on a small scale,” explains Antoine Gouze, Head of the Process Team for the EMILI project. In terms of manufacturing Li-ion batteries, the purity of the lithium hydroxide powder is crucial to ensure maximum battery performance, lifespan and safety.
Battery-grade lithium made in the lab
The purpose of the tests was to determine if the process selected for the EMILI project could eliminate impurities from the rock. The tests were performed on granite core samples extracted during the geological sampling campaigns. “We have achieved battery-grade quality and we are very close to the expected lithium extraction yield,” confirms Antoine Gouze.
Next step: pilot lab trials, then a pilot plant
These results have cleared the way for the next step: performing continuous tests over several weeks using a laboratory pilot that is currently in development. This new step in the process for validating the hydrometallurgical process is expected to produce one ton of lithium hydroxide.
Finally, Imerys plans to build a pilot plant with an annual production capacity of several hundred tons in 2025. The plant will be used to confirm the performance and robustness of the process and to prepare the future operations teams for the launch of industrial-scale production to supply lithium to the European battery manufacturing sector.
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