Lithium hydroxide is one of the key raw materials for the battery industry world-wide. Producers of lithium-ion batteries require the raw material in the highest quality as "battery grade" for the production of cathode materials. GEA's technology portfolio covers the essential process steps of lithium extraction.

GEA has demonstrated this long-standing expertise in major projects worldwide, including in Australia. Therefore, Advanced Metallurgical Group (AMG), Netherlands, decided to go for a GEA solution. GEA will supply AMG Lithium GmbH not only with a pre-concentration plant but also with the key crystallization technology. The battery grade produced in this plant is characterized by an extremely low content of impurities. The lithium hydroxide will be produced in a plant operated by AMG Lithium at Chemiepark Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany. The first module will be commissioned in 2023 with an annual capacity of 20,000 tons of lithium hydroxide. According to AMG Lithium Managing Director Stefan Scherer, additional modules will follow in subsequent years, increasing capacity to up to 100,000 tons.

The availability of battery materials is the key driver for the sustainable success of the mega trends electromobility and stationary energy storage. The new plant will process the lithium hydroxide so that it can be used in the production for electric vehicle batteries. According to AMG Lithium, this is the first plant in Germany to be able to produce lithium hydroxide in this degree of purity.

From Technical Grade to Battery Grade LiOH-H₂O

GEA support their project partner AMG Lithium in the construction of their lithium hydroxide production plant, which uses technical grade lithium hydroxide as raw material in the first module and converts it into battery grade lithium hydroxide in the new plant. The plant engineering solution includes pre-concentration, crystallization and drying of the crystals and comprises design, manufacture, installation and commissioning.

"Global demand for lithium is growing inexorably. Many of our customers are active in this promising market and operate corresponding plants. We would like to support them with our many years of expertise. Our extensive know-how in the realization of lithium processing plants has put GEA in an ideal position," says Rob van der Steen, Head of Global Service Center Crystallization at GEA.

GEA expertise

The processing of spodumene or lithium-containing brines of course focusses on product yield, but also and in particular on product purity. GEA has the skills and the experience to develop the most sophisticated and tailor-made processes, from the first product test in the laboratory, to our own stationary and mobile test facilities, to the pilot plant that allows industrial scale up.

AMG Lithium expertise

AMG Lithium combines extensive lithium expertise in R&D, production and marketing with a reliable and safe raw material base from a group-owned mine in Brazil. AMG Lithium is committed to providing innovative and high- quality battery materials to their customers in the European battery industry.

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