Summary

Lithium is becoming an essential metal in the global energy economy due to its applications in batteries, including those for electric cars; however, its recovery from the land resources is geographically limited and not environmentally friendly. As an alternative, there is 2.31x10^5 Mt of lithium freely dissolved in seawater. However, the existing processes for its recovery have limited efficiency; they require cyclic charging and discharging of the electrodes (capacitive deionisation) or are based on frequent regeneration of the adsorbent material (adsorption processes).

In this project, lithium selective composite membranes (Li+SCM) will be developed to recover lithium from saline streams such as seawater and lithium-rich brines coming from desalination processes and mines. The membranes are going to be prepared by electrospinning and modelling tools will be developed to aid at their design. Long-term validation studies will be performed at the end of the project to examine membranes’ robustness and operational stability.