With the development of the electric auto industry and smart phones, the need for lithium is dramatically increasing. People are becoming more and more anxious about the environment, so they would like to choose an electric car rather than a car needing gasoline as fuel.

At the same time, all auto manufacturers focus on R&D for electric autos, the electric auto occupies the car market rapidly.


All these factors lead to the high demand for lithium. People know it cause lithium battery is often used in their smartphones. Now, their cars also need lithium.

How can battery manufacturers get lithium? And what process needs to be done to treat lithium? What does role filtration play in lithium extraction? All these questions would be answered in the following articles.

What is a lithium battery?


A Li-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery that stores energy through the reversible reduction of lithium ions. It is the most common kind of battery used in electric vehicles and portable consumer gadgets.

Additionally, grid-scale energy storage as well as military and aerospace applications make major use of it. Li-ion batteries outperform other rechargeable battery technologies in terms of energy density, self-discharge, and memory effect.

What is lithium?

A chemical element with the atomic number 3 and the symbol Li is lithium. It is a delicate, white-silver alkali metal. It is the least dense metal and the least dense solid element under typical conditions.

As with all alkali metals, lithium must be stored under a vacuum, in an inert atmosphere, or in an inert liquid such as mineral oil or pure kerosene. It has a shiny sheen when cut, but damp air quickly corrodes it to a dull silvery gray, then a black patina.

Lithium concept

Only in (often ionic) compounds, such as pegmatitic minerals, which were previously the principal source of lithium, can they ever occur freely in nature.

It is prevalent in ocean water and is frequently recovered from brines because of its solubility as an ion. Electrolysis is used to separate lithium metal from a solution of lithium chloride and potassium chloride.

What is lithium extraction?

There are mainly three methods to get lithium. And we will introduce them in detail below.


Mining & acid leaching from spodumene ores

LiAl(SiO3)2 produces a lithium sulfate solution, which is subsequently electrochemically transformed into lithium carbonate or hydroxide suitable for batteries. Australian output is dominated by the processing of spodumene.

Concentration & precipitation

As lithium carbonate using evaporation ponds from brines, these resources are typically found in regions with high rates of evaporation, such as elevation deserts in South America, and have lesser hardness (for example, calcium and magnesium).


Direct lithium extraction (DLE)

This method involves transferring lithium from saline water sources to an ion exchange substance or bead, which is subsequently washed with hydrochloric acid to liberate the lithium.

Lithium chloride with impurities is produced, but it is diluted. Lithium deposits with increased hardness tend to integrate better with DLE in locations unsuitable for evaporation ponds.

Direct lithium extraction (DLE)

How to do lithium extraction?

Mineral ore deposits and subterranean brine deposits are the two main sources of commercial lithium. Depending on the parent material, many techniques are used for lithium extraction and processing, including the following:

Conventional lithium brine extraction

Liquid brine pools beneath salt flats, known as salars, the majority of which are found in southwestern South America and China, are where the vast majority of today’s lithium is recovered. Geothermal brines and oil field brines are two more sources of lithium-rich brine, and they are discussed below.

Lithium brine recovery is normally a simple but time-consuming process that can take several months to several years to finish.

The subsurface salar brine resources must be accessed by drilling, after which the brine is pumped to the surface and distributed to evaporation ponds.

The brine is left in the evaporation pond for several months or years, or until sun evaporation has removed the majority of the liquid water content.

Salar brines are highly concentrated and frequently include sodium and potassium in addition to lithium.

Typical facilities run a number of sizable evaporation ponds of varying ages, and while they wait for the lithium content to reach a concentration that is ideal for further processing, they may collect other metals (such as potassium) from the younger ponds.

Reverse osmosis (RO) is sometimes used to concentrate lithium brine in order to hasten the evaporation process.

Salt piles in salt lake Uyuni, Bolivia

The brine from an evaporation pond is pumped to a lithium recovery facility for extraction once it has attained the ideal lithium concentration. The steps involved in this process vary based on the nature of the brine field, but they often include:

  • Pretreatment

Filtration and/or ion exchange (IX) purification are typically used in this step to remove any impurities or undesirable components from the brine.

  • Chemical treatment

Then, by precipitation, a variety of chemical solvents and reagents may be used to separate the desired products and byproducts.

  • Filtration

After that, the brine is filtered to remove precipitated solids.

  • Saleable lithium production

Finally, a reagent is added to the brine to create lithium carbonate, such as sodium carbonate. The finished product is filtered and dried before being sold.

Different reagents may be used to make additional commonly sold forms of lithium, such as lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride, lithium bromide, and butyl lithium, depending on the final product that is needed.

The residual brine solution is fed back to the underground reservoir when the lithium extraction procedure is finished.

Hard rock/spodumene lithium extraction

Mineral ore resources produce close to 20 tons of lithium annually, although making up a relatively minor portion of the world’s total lithium production.

Although more than 100 distinct minerals contain some lithium, only five are being actively mined for its production. These include lepidolite, petalite, amblygonite, and eucryptite, with spodumene being by far the most prevalent.

Ore trucks in an open-pit mine

Mineral ore deposits frequently contain more lithium than salar brines, but they are more expensive to reach since they need to be mined from hard rock formations. Lithium extraction from mineral ore can be twice as expensive as brine recovery because of the additional energy, chemicals, and materials needed for the process, which has decreased its market share.

The method used to extract lithium from ore can change depending on the particular mineral deposit in question. Typically, the procedure involves taking the mineral stuff out of the earth, heating it, and then crushing it.

The powdered mineral is crushed and mixed with chemical reactants, such as sulfuric acid. The resulting slurry is then heated, filtered, and concentrated through an evaporation process to produce marketable lithium carbonate, while the wastewater produced is treated for reuse or disposal.


Lithium is an important metal for many industries. Lithium extraction has increasing demand in large quantities. Filtration is a crucial part of lithium extraction.

Brother Filtration has years of filtration experience and designs and manufactures all kinds of filter elements for diverse industries and applications.

We also try to provide a one-stop shopping experience for our customers. Except for the RO membrane, we also offer brine tanks for this production process.

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