Online-Analysis of Metals in Lithium Manufacture

Chemical dosing based on reliable real-time data in Finish pilot plant

  • Online-Analysis of Metals in Lithium Manufacture
    Online-Analysis of Metals in Lithium Manufacture

Sensmet has launched a new technology that dramatically improves the production efficiency of lithium – the most crucial component of a Li-Ion battery. Sensmet’s automated online measurement technology enables the optimal dosing of chemicals during lithium production, which improves revenues and reduces costs. 

Traditionally, battery metal manufacturers had to rely on batch sampling and laboratory analysis to control their processes, but this is costly, labour intensive, and typically incurs a delay of 4–10 hours. In contrast, Sensmet’s technology, Micro-Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy µDOES®, is able to measure multiple metals, such as any battery metal and their impurities, in real-time. In addition to lithium manufacture, the technology is also suited to the ‘black mass’ recycling of battery metals. Strict online monitoring and control is implemented to reduce impurity levels and thereby prevent the cost and delay incurred by retreatment.

Pilot test confirms excellent results

Keliber ran a pilot-scale test programme in 2022 to evaluate the µDOES® analyser in the continuous optimisation of precipitation chemical dosing during lithium production. Nearly 80 samples were drawn from the process with sodium and lithium concentrations analysed in parallel using both the µDOES® continuous analyser and a laboratory ICP-OES. The results showed an excellent degree of correlation between the methods. Keliber’s Sami Heikkinen said: “Chemical dosing based on reliable real-time data brings stability to the process, which is very important because it avoids drift and optimises both yield and quality while minimising cost.” The ability to conduct continuous, simultaneous measurements of multiple metal species in an aqueous matrix offers battery metal manufacturers the opportunity to improve process efficiency, lower costs, increase throughput, avoid waste and improve the quality of the final product.