Solvent-driven Crystallization of Lithium Hydroxide from Concentrated Aqueous Solution

In recent years, lithium compounds have emerged as pivotal catalysts driving advancements across diverse fields, including electric vehicles, renewable energy storage and electronics, shaping the trajectory of modern life. Among these compounds, lithium hydroxide stands out as an exceptionally valuable component, commanding a higher market value and demonstrating superior suitability for use in batteries. The production process of lithium hydroxide (LiOH) involves crystallization, the final step in obtaining the desired product, lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LiOH⋅H2O). The traditional crystallization process demands significant energy for water evaporation. Additionally, precipitates formed by evaporative crystallization tend to have impurities, requiring substantial water usage to remove undesirable ions prior to crystallization.

This project aims to introduce a more efficient and environmentally friendly approach: solvent-driven extractive crystallization for the production of lithium hydroxide monohydrate. This alternative pathway holds the potential to revolutionize lithium hydroxide production by reducing energy costs, minimizing water consumption and contributing to an overall decrease in the carbon footprint of processing. Over a 3-year research program, three research activities will be completed. 1) Investigation of phase equilibria in the ternary system; 2) Process optimization and studies on the impact of impurities; and 3) exploration of solvent recovery. Through these efforts, we anticipate contributing to a more sustainable and efficient future in lithium hydroxide production.