Five 500 series cased peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions are taking part in an important role in an illustration plant at Cornish Lithium’s Shallow Geothermal Test Site in the UK.
Originally built to check pressure gauge 2.5 นิ้ว of extracting lithium from geothermal waters, Cornish Lithium is now working on an upgraded version of the check plant as its drilling program expands, in the end with the aim of developing an efficient, sustainable and cost-effective lithium extraction provide chain.
The initial enquiry for pumps came from GeoCubed, a joint venture between Cornish Lithium and Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL). GEL owns a deep borehole web site at United Downs in Cornwall where plans are in place to fee a £4 million ($5.2 million) pilot plant.
“GeoCubed’s course of engineers helped us to design and fee the test plant ahead of the G7, which would run on shallow geothermal waters extracted from Cornish Lithium’s personal research boreholes,” Dr Rebecca Paisley, Exploration Geochemist at Cornish Lithium, mentioned.
Adam Matthews, Exploration Geologist at Cornish Lithium, added: “Our shallow site centres on a borehole that we drilled in 2019. A special borehole pump [not Watson-Marlow] extracts the geothermal water [mildly saline, lithium-enriched water] and feeds into the demonstration processing plant.”
The five Watson-Marlow 530SN/R2 pumps serve two completely different elements of the test plant, the first of which extracts lithium from the waters by pumping the brine from a container up by way of a column containing a large number of beads.
“The beads have an energetic ingredient on their floor that’s selective for lithium,” Paisley explained. “As water is pumped via the column, lithium ions connect to the beads. With the lithium separated, we use two Watson-Marlow 530s to pump an acidic answer in varied concentrations via the column. The acid serves to remove lithium from the beads, which we then switch to a separate container.
“The pumps are peristaltic, so nothing but the tube comes into contact with the acid answer.”
She added: “We’re using the remaining 530 series pumps to help understand what different by-products we can make from the water. For instance, we are able to reuse the water for secondary processes in industry and agriculture. For this reason, we have two other columns working in unison to strip all other parts from the water as we pump it through.”
According to Matthews, move rate was among the many major reasons for selecting Watson-Marlow pumps.
“The column wanted a circulate fee of 1-2 litres per minute to suit with our test scale, so the 530 pumps have been ideal,” he says. “The other consideration was selecting between manual or automated pumps. At the time, because it was bench scale, we went for manual, as we knew it will be simple to make adjustments while we were still experimenting with course of parameters. However, any future commercial lithium extraction system would of course take benefit of full automation.
Paisley added: “The beauty of having these 5 pumps is that we will use them to help consider other technologies transferring forward. Lithium extraction from the type of waters we find in Cornwall isn’t undertaken wherever else on the planet on any scale – the water chemistry here is unique.
“It is really essential for us to undertake on-site take a look at work with quite lots of different companies and technologies. We wish to devise probably the most environmentally responsible answer utilizing the optimum lithium restoration technique, at the lowest potential working cost. Using local firms is part of our technique, significantly as continuity of provide is important.”
To assist fulfil the requirements of the subsequent test plant, Cornish Lithium has enquired after extra 530SN/R2 pumps from Watson-Marlow.
“We’ve additionally requested a quote for a Qdos a hundred and twenty dosing pump from Watson-Marlow, so we can add a sure amount of acid into the system and obtain pH balance,” Matthews says. “We’ll be doing more drilling within the coming 12 months, which is in a position to allow us to check our know-how on multiple websites.”