Lithium Processing Capabilities

Solutions for the concentration, purification and crystallization of lithium and battery materials

Veolia Water Technologies helps lithium producers overcome challenges by developing and optimizing the production process to reliably meet production targets. 

At Veolia Water Technologies, we help lithium producers and recyclers meet the technical challenges associated with the rising demand for efficient production or recycling of high-purity lithium and battery material salts for advanced electric battery manufacturing. As a worldwide leader in the supply of lithium brine treatment technologies and chemical processing systems, our experts design and supply complete lithium processing systems, from brine or leach solutions to final product.

We have the capability to design and supply complete lithium processing systems, from brine or leach solutions to final product, including:

project execution process diagram
  • Battery Materials Purification and Crystallization
    (LiOH, Li2CO3, LiCl, NiSO4, CoSO4, MnSO4)
  • By-product Recovery from Lithium Processing
    (KCl, Na2SO4, NaCl, K2SO4, H3BO3)
  • Lithium Brine Pretreatment and Concentration
    (Metals Removal, Softening, IX, RO, NF, Evaporation)
  • Battery Recycle and Materials Recovery
  • Lithium Extraction Flowsheet Support
  • Lithium Eluate Concentration
  • Solid/liquid Separation
  • Solids Handling and Bagging Systems

A Preferred Partner for Project Development
Veolia is a reliable partner in the development of each unique lithium project. Combining expert process development and validation with early scope development provides the client with options for achieving both optimum system performance and key business objectives.

Our R&D facilities allow for validation of the process approach and optimization of the design for confident removal of the various contaminants that exist in unique feed sources and to achieve the highest possible product recovery and purity.  This, in conjunction with our engineering and worldwide project execution capabilities, allow Veolia to support project development from concept, through feasibility and FEED engineering, and through to project execution and commissioning.  This flexible approach makes Veolia a preferred partner for FEED or phased engineering contracts for highly complex projects.

Process Development Expertise
Veolia Water Technologies has a long history of supplying systems for the purification, recovery, and drying of inorganic chemicals utilizing its HPD® Evaporation and Crystallization Technologies. State-of-the-art research and development capabilities allow investigation into the behavior of complex multi-component aqueous systems and subsequent optimization of the process design to most efficiently achieve the desired product quality and reduce performance risk. Unlike typical for-hire hydrometallurgical
laboratories, Veolia also designs and supplies commercial equipment. Veolia understands how learnings at the lab or pilot scale translate to commercial performance and will take responsibility for the processes that are developed in our facility. We can typically scale up from the laboratory scale directly to offer commercial systems on a design-build basis with complete process, mechanical, and schedule guarantees.

Precursor materials for lithium-ion battery production must be provided at extremely high purity levels. Nickel and cobalt compounds are particularly sensitive to contamination during the crystallization process. Through our crystallization expertise supplemented with specific testing, Veolia is able to identify the appropriate crystallization processes required to achieve desired purity levels from unique sources with differing contaminant levels.

Featured Technologies for Lithium Processing & Battery Recycling

HPD Evaporation & Crystallization Technologies

HPD Brine concentrator

Through its global sales network and local field service support, Veolia’s world-class HPD® evaporation and crystallization systems have been the technologies producers rely on to extract the most high-purity lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide and other cathode material salts while removing persistent impurities and recovering valuable chemical compounds containing potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium.

Evaporation Technologies:

  • Thermal Vapor Recompression
  • Mechanical Vapor Recompression
  • Multiple Effect
  • Long-tube Vertical (Rising-film and Falling-film)
  • Forced Circulation
  • Multi-stage Flash
  • Horizontal Spray Film

Crystallization Technologies:

  • Draft Tube Baffle (PIC)
  • Surface Cooling
  • Forced Circulation
  • Growth (Oslo type) Crystallizer
  • Reactive
  • Adiabatic Flash

Learn more about HPD Evaporation & Crystallization Technologies

Ion Exchange Lithium Brine Impurity Removal System

Lithium ion exchange - whittier2

This ion exchange (IX) technology by Veolia is a specialty IX system that removes impurities from the lithium brine prior to evaporation and crystallization of the lithium solution.

How does it work?
As the brine flows through the ion exchange column, impurities present in the brine are exchanged with other ions present on the resin. The exchange process is driven by the difference in the affinity of the resin for impurity ions over other ions. Unwanted ions, such as magnesium, calcium, and boron will be removed during this process.

System Information:

  • Specialty IX system designed for treatment of lithium brine
  • Configuration can include either Lead-Lag-Regen or Lead-Lag-Lag-Regen
  • High dissolved solids streams
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Chelating resins for concentrated brine, HCl and NaOH regenerated

Auto-Jet® Pressure Leaf Filtration for Battery Recycling

The Auto-Jet precoat filtration technology can be utilized in the purification step of the recovery of precious elements inside lithium-ion batteries.

Learn more


What is lithium purification?

What is lithium purification?

Lithium purification is the process of refining lithium from its raw or impure form to obtain high-purity lithium compounds suitable for various industrial applications, particularly in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Lithium, as a highly reactive alkali metal, is commonly found in nature in the form of lithium-containing minerals, brine solutions, and salt flats.

The purification process typically involves several stages to remove impurities and obtain a high-grade lithium product.

How is lithium processed?

Lithium processing typically involves several steps, depending on the source of lithium, whether it is extracted from mineral ores or obtained from brine solutions.

A general overview of the steps to process lithium include:

  • Mining and Concentration
  • Chemical Conversion or Roasting
  • Acid or Alkali Leaching
  • Purification and Impurity Removal: The leaching solution is further processed to purify and remove impurities. Various techniques such as precipitation, filtration, solvent extraction, and ion exchange may be employed to separate lithium ions from other unwanted elements present in the solution. These processes help in achieving a higher level of lithium purity.  
  • Concentration and Crystallization: The purified lithium solution is concentrated to increase the lithium concentration. Evaporation or other concentration methods are used to remove excess water, resulting in a more concentrated lithium solution. Crystallization is then employed to further purify the concentrated solution and obtain solid lithium compounds with a high degree of purity.
  • Conversion to Lithium Compounds: The concentrated lithium solution or solid lithium compounds obtained from crystallization are further processed to produce specific lithium compounds based on their intended applications. Lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide are common compounds derived from lithium processing, which are widely used in lithium-ion batteries and other industries.

Why is lithium important?

Lithium is an important component that is used in a variety of different applications and products including:

Energy Storage: One of the primary reasons for lithium's importance is its crucial role in energy storage solutions. Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid-scale energy storage. 

Electric Vehicles (EVs): Lithium-ion batteries are the main energy storage technology in electric vehicles. The growth of EVs is essential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, combating climate change, and promoting cleaner transportation options.

Renewable Energy: Renewable energy sources like solar and wind are intermittent, and lithium-ion batteries help store excess energy during peak production periods and release it during high demand, ensuring a steady supply of electricity.

Electronics and Technology: Lithium-ion batteries power a wide range of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, and other portable gadgets.