Tesla files a patent on a method to extract lithium at a lower cost

Tesla and lithium

The announcement was made during Tesla’s last Battery Day. The manufacturer has now filed a patent on its new lithium extraction technique.

With this new method, the American electric car maker could extract lithium from rock at a much lower cost, around 33%, while respecting the environment according to initial statements.

” Selective extraction of lithium from clay minerals “

This is how we can translate the title of the patent application that Tesla has just filed. As Elon Musk briefly explained in greatly simplifying the methodology, it involves using sodium chloride, like table salt, to separate lithium from clay soil.

The complete method is of course significantly more complex than this simple one-sentence summary, but, as Musk pointed out on Battery Day, it is a new method of extraction that is different from what is currently being done and is more respectful of the environment. The ore passes through a mill for 3 hours at a speed of 500 rpm in which sodium chloride has been added beforehand, at the level of 3%.

The result of this grinding is then placed in a glass reactor for leaching with water. This brings the temperature to 90 ° C for 20 minutes. Everything is then filtered at 5 microns. The complete detail of this process is set out in the Tesla Lithium Extraction Patent application filed by the manufacturer with the American authorities.

An implementation in the new Tesla deposit

The Fremont builder recently acquired a lithium deposit in Nevada with a surface area of ​​more than 4,000 hectares and it intends to apply its new method of extracting lithium on site.

Tesla will be able to test the process on a large scale near its Gigafactory in Sparks in Nevada, which specializes in manufacturing batteries for the manufacturer.


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