Gradiant launches alkaLi, powered by EC² — an instantaneous battery-grade lithium production process

Global solutions provider for advanced water and wastewater treatment Gradiant has a new spin-out of alkaLi — a standalone company dedicated to accelerating the scaling of battery-grade lithium production powered by EC2, reportedly the world’s only all-in-one solution engineered to extract, concentrate and convert battery-grade lithium. The company is onboarding new customer partners now.

The spin-out will accelerate the scaling of battery-grade lithium production to meet the global demand for electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage, and portable electronic devices.

EC2 is said to feature instantaneous production measured in seconds instead of years. It will reportedly reduce costs with 50% lower operating expense and zero capital expenditure costs. It offers industry-leading sustainability benefits with reduced carbon and water footprints. It also features expedited permitting to meet the global lithium demand.

The complete system is reportedly a highly modular, three-stage system adaptable to a range of source inputs including — brine, evaporation, and recycling. The technology can be deployed in full or standalone stages, integrated with existing site infrastructure with an option to supercharge production with SmartOps artificial intelligence (AI).

EC2 has been bench-tested and field-tested, and has completed a commercial proving system with US oilfield services company SLB in 2023. alkaLi will continue to offer the business model flexibility that Gradiant is known for — providing producers with a zero capital expenditure option in which the company builds, owns and operates (BOO) the solution.

“A clear purpose drives Gradiant, and that is to ensure water for generations to come. With that comes an affinity for holistic environmental solutions beyond water, including the successful electrification of our societies to reduce the burden on fossil fuels,” said Prakash Govindan, COO of Gradiant. “Demand for lithium is outstripping supply. We must accelerate the scale of production solutions, and it is for this reason that we will spin out alkaLi, a completely independent company with a dedicated focus on maximising the production efficiency of battery-grade lithium.”

Siva Kumar Kota, Gradiant’s head of technology, added that its reverse osmosis (RO) Infinity with Counter-Flow RO technology powers EC2 . “CFRO operates with significantly lower demand for energy and water, concentrating to limits approaching saturation without the environmental impacts common in incumbent technologies,” he said.

The three-stage system features extraction, concentration and conversion which will set new industry standards to battery-grade lithium with optimised efficiency and sustainability throughout each stage. For extraction, synthesised resins and novel membranes optimise lithium extraction far beyond industry norms, uniquely reaching Generation II levels and the richest lithium stream possible for maximum downstream efficiency. A second Li-lean stream is output, and each flow to CFRO units in the concentration stage.

The second stage of concentration is powered by Gradiant’s award-winning CFRO to maximise system efficiency, consuming an order of magnitude less energy than thermal processes in which CFRO I receives the Li-rich stream and further concentrates to levels sufficient to convert to battery-grade lithium and CFRO II receives the Li-lean stream and reduces TDS to below regulatory limits, allowing expedited permitting.

Finally, the conversion stage is conducted when concentrated lithium is precipitated into a solid to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide.

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