Vulcan Energy Resources has successfully developed, tested and demonstrated its in-house lithium extraction sorbent, VULSORB, for use in lithium extraction from the Upper Rhine Valley Brine Field in Germany.
VULSORB is a variation of the type of lithium extraction sorbents developed thirty years ago, but the company says its process is faster and more efficient than the legacy method of using large-scale evaporation and large quantities of chemical reagents to extract the lithium and process it into lithium hydroxide. The sorbent extraction happens in hours, rather than up to 18 months.
The company says VULSORB has demonstrated higher performance and lower water consumption in lithium extraction compared to commercially available sorbents. Testing has been carried out on live brine from Vulcan’s geothermal renewable energy plant in Insheim, Germany.
Vulcan says it plans to use VULSORB for lithium extraction in its phase 1 commercial development, and first commercial production is targeted for Q4 2025. The company is also testing other sorbents from commercial suppliers for potential use in future phases of development.
Vulcan’s CEO, Dr. Francis Wedin, said, “Until now, there have been no commercially available sorbents for lithium extraction manufactured in Europe, thus making the region dependent on foreign supply chains. VULSORB will enable Europe to extract lithium from its own brine fields, without being exposed to geopolitical risk. Vulcan will assess the potential of VULSORB to be used in other lithium brines in Europe and globally.”