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Vulcan Achieves Milestone: Europe's First Green Lithium Chloride Production
Vulcan Achieves Milestone: Europe's First Green Lithium Chloride Production

Vulcan Achieves Milestone: Europe's First Green Lithium Chloride Production

  • 15-Apr-2024 5:02 PM
  • Journalist: Rene Swann

Vulcan Energy Resources, an Australian lithium producer, has initiated lithium chloride (LiCl) production at its lithium extraction optimization plant (LEOP) in Landau, Germany. The plant commenced operations in November last year, marking a significant milestone as the first domestically produced lithium from a local source in Europe.

Utilizing direct lithium extraction by adsorption (A-DLE), Vulcan achieved a consistent efficiency of over 90% in lithium extraction from geothermal brine. This outcome mirrors the success previously attained in Vulcan's German laboratories and pilot plants in Insheim, where the extraction process underwent successful testing over three years.

The LEOP represents a substantial investment of over €40 million and serves primarily for optimizing operational processes, conducting product quality tests, and training the production team for the commercial plant's operation.

The next production phase involves processing lithium chloride into battery-ready lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) at the central lithium electrolysis optimization plant (CLEOP), nearing completion at the German industrial park in Frankfurt-Höchst. Vulcan anticipates the facility to be operational by the summer of this year. Both the LEOP and CLEOP optimization plants serve as precursors to the planned commercial plants, with a projected production capacity of 24,000 tons per year (t/y) of LHM, as stated by Vulcan.

The company aims to execute its Zero Carbon Lithium project across multiple phases. In the initial project phase of commercial production, Vulcan intends to produce sufficient lithium annually for approximately 500,000 electric vehicles. The Upper Rhine Valley hosts Europe's largest lithium deposit and serves as a renewable heat source. Vulcan plans to harness both resources to decarbonize lithium production for electric vehicle batteries in Europe, leveraging renewable energy from geothermal sources.

Cris Moreno, managing director & CEO of Vulcan, expressed satisfaction with the plant's cutting-edge technology, highlighting the efficiency of the A-DLE process and its environmental advantages. He credited the on-site team for their instrumental role in achieving the expected extraction efficiency at LEOP.

Founded in 2018, Vulcan is dedicated to creating a carbon-neutral future by co-producing lithium, heat, and renewable energy from geothermal brine. Their focus is on delivering the world's first integrated renewable energy and ZERO CARBON LITHIUM™ Project. Vulcan aims to provide Europe with sustainable lithium sourced locally, using a carbon-neutral strategy that excludes fossil fuels. Additionally, as an operational renewable energy producer, Vulcan will supply renewable electricity and heat to local communities. With the largest combined geothermal energy and lithium resource in Europe, Vulcan strategically targets the European electric vehicle market to decarbonize the supply chain. Guided by values of Climate Champion, Determined, and Inspiring, Vulcan aspires to be a global leader in producing carbon-neutral lithium and renewable energy, partnering with organizations that share their decarbonization ambitions.

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