Watson-Marlow pumps carry out at Cornish Lithium Shallow Geothermal Test Site

Five 500 collection cased peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions are enjoying an essential position in a demonstration plant at Cornish Lithium’s Shallow Geothermal Test Site within the UK.
Originally built to test the concept of extracting lithium from geothermal waters, Cornish Lithium is now working on an upgraded version of the take a look at plant as its drilling program expands, in the end with the aim of creating an efficient, sustainable and cost-effective lithium extraction provide chain.
The initial enquiry for pumps got here from GeoCubed, a three way partnership between Cornish Lithium and Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL). GEL owns a deep borehole website at United Downs in Cornwall where plans are in place to fee a £4 million ($5.2 million) pilot plant.
“GeoCubed’s course of engineers helped us to design and fee the take a look at plant forward of the G7, which might run on shallow geothermal waters extracted from Cornish Lithium’s personal research boreholes,” Dr Rebecca Paisley, Exploration Geochemist at Cornish Lithium, mentioned.
Adam Matthews, Exploration Geologist at Cornish Lithium, added: “Our shallow website centres on a borehole that we drilled in 2019. Now [not Watson-Marlow] extracts the geothermal water [mildly saline, lithium-enriched water] and feeds into the demonstration processing plant.”
The 5 Watson-Marlow 530SN/R2 pumps serve two different components of the take a look at plant, the primary of which extracts lithium from the waters by pumping the brine from a container up through a column containing a lot of beads.
“The beads have an active ingredient on their floor that’s selective for lithium,” Paisley explained. “As water is pumped by way of the column, lithium ions attach to the beads. With the lithium separated, we use two Watson-Marlow 530s to pump an acidic answer in various concentrations by way of the column. The acid serves to remove lithium from the beads, which we then switch to a separate container.
“The pumps are peristaltic, so nothing however the tube comes into contact with the acid solution.”
She added: “We’re using the remaining 530 sequence pumps to assist understand what different by-products we can make from the water. For instance, we can reuse the water for secondary processes in business and agriculture. For this reason, we have two other columns working in unison to strip all different elements from the water as we pump it by way of.”
According to Matthews, move rate was among the many main reasons for selecting Watson-Marlow pumps.
“The column needed a move fee of 1-2 litres per minute to fit with our check scale, so the 530 pumps were ideal,” he says. “The different consideration was choosing between manual or automated pumps. At the time, as a end result of it was bench scale, we went for guide, as we knew it will be easy to make adjustments while we were nonetheless experimenting with process parameters. However, any future business lithium extraction system would of course take benefit of full automation.
Paisley added: “The great thing about having these 5 pumps is that we are able to use them to assist evaluate different applied sciences transferring forward. Lithium extraction from the kind of waters we discover in Cornwall just isn’t undertaken wherever else on the planet on any scale – the water chemistry here is unique.
“It is really necessary for us to undertake on-site check work with quite a lot of completely different companies and technologies. We need to devise the most environmentally responsible resolution utilizing the optimum lithium restoration technique, on the lowest attainable working value. Using local firms is a half of our technique, significantly as continuity of provide is significant.”
To help fulfil the requirements of the following check plant, Cornish Lithium has enquired after extra 530SN/R2 pumps from Watson-Marlow.
“We’ve also requested a quote for a Qdos a hundred and twenty dosing pump from Watson-Marlow, so we will add a sure quantity of acid into the system and obtain pH balance,” Matthews says. “We’ll be doing extra drilling in the coming 12 months, which is in a position to permit us to check our technology on multiple websites.”
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