HOUSTON — Schlumberger New Energy this month announced the development of a lithium extraction pilot plant in Nevada through its new venture, NeoLith Energy.
The deployment of the pilot plant will be in Clayton Valley in Esmeralda County. NeoLith Energy intends to begin operations before the end of 2021, pending permitting approvals.
The NeoLith Energy approach uses a differentiated direct lithium extraction process to produce high-purity, battery-grade lithium material while reducing the production time.
NeoLith Energy’s pilot plant is a step toward a full-scale, commercial lithium production facility. The pilot plant results will be used to optimize the design of a full-scale production plant.
The production plant will utilize a method for subsurface brine extraction and lithium production that requires a smaller footprint and reduces water consumption by over 85% compared to current methods for lithium extraction from brine, the company stated in a press release.
“Nevada lithium resources present an excellent opportunity to demonstrate a leap in production efficiency with a more sustainable approach,” said Ashok Belani, Schlumberger New Energy executive vice president. “Schlumberger’s expertise in the subsurface domain, development of process technology, and global deployment of technology at scale with various partners all play an important role in the innovation and efficiency of our DLE process. We are accelerating the deployment of our pilot plant in response to the high market demand for battery-grade lithium material.”
The pilot plant’s deployment is part of the Pure Energy Minerals agreement with Schlumberger New Energy for the development of its Nevada lithium brine property, using advanced technology to process the brine and extract high-purity lithium, maximizing the lithium resource recovery. Commissioning of the pilot plant will begin following receipt of all necessary permits.
Schlumberger New Energy has invested more than $15 million in the DLE process, and expects the development and operation of the pilot plant in Nevada to require a similar amount of investment.