Minerals Engineering, Vol.110, 104-121, 2017
Advance review on the exploitation of the prominent energy-storage element Lithium. Part II: From sea water and spent lithium ion batteries (LIBs)
The uncertainty in production and utilization with the availability of lithium rich minerals and brine in a limited land area has grown the attention for the exploitation of those resources not coming under a specific boundary. Approximately 230 billion tons of lithium in ubiquitous sea water and generation of a huge amount of used lithium ion batteries (spent LIBs) in different corner of the end-user countries can play a major role to change the scenario of securing lithium as a raw material for industry. Therefore, it needs to be exploited in such an effective manner that it can assure the mitigation of projected supply risk of this energy-critical element. To explore the commercial viability for their sustainable exploitation, it is imperative to review the methodologies that have been investigated and have clear potential for upscaling. This article deals with the processing of those resources that do not contributes yet to lithium supply in commodity market, and include the lithium recovery from sea water and spent LIBs. A purposive discussion on the electro-dialysis and reverse osmosis for the separation and recovery of lithium from sea water is of vital interest in future. A routinely disposed spent LIBs is a huge reservoir of lithium and need to be recovered as a main product along with the costlier cobalt, while recycling the spent LIBs. The various extraction and recovery processes of lithium are subdivided according to the adopted methodology, selection of lixiviant and obtaining the product in the desired form, whilst the technological and chemical perspective is also discussed. The deliberations on the edges and/or drawbacks, complications and prospects of the different processes are also included. It is believed that this state-of-the-art review can contribute in formulating the strategy for fulfilling the global energy demand by a sustainable recovery of lithium from its non-conventional resources, and can provide future research directions.