Rockwell Automation supports sustainable lithium production
Rockwell Automation is collaborating with Cornish Lithium Plc to sustainably produce lithium hydroxide through a demonstration plant.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the globe may face lithium shortages by 2025. To meet net-zero goals by 2050, it is estimated that over 2 billion electric vehicles will be required worldwide, and these cars require lithium for their batteries. However, the lithium resources needed to meet this rising demand are concentrated in only a few areas worldwide.
Rockwell Automation will be utilising its PlantPAx cutting-edge distributed control system at th Cornish Lithium demonstration plant. This modern DCS provides a unified, plant-wide control system.
“Rockwell Automation has both the technology and domain expertise to support the complex lithium extraction process,” said Phil Hadfield, UK managing director, Rockwell Automation. “We have successfully worked in lithium projects around the world, including Australia, Africa, and South America. The integrated architecture from Rockwell Automation provides end-to-end system integration. The systems are designed with scalability in mind, leveraging the new advancements in digital technology.”
Diversifying lithium mining
Cornwall has a rich mining heritage, with a large granite outcrop dominating the geology in this region of the UK. Due to this advantage, Cornwall is rich in lithium. Two plants will be built; one is a mineral concentration plant where raw ore is crushed, milled, and separated to create lithium-enriched mica concentrate. The second is the chemical plant, with a hydrometallurgical acid leaching system that produces lithium sulfate, which is converted into lithium hydroxide. The chemical plant combines chemical reactors, precipitators, filtration, and crystallisation. The demonstration plant is currently under construction and when commissioned is expected to operate for a year.