Brine evaporation for lithium extraction


Most of the world’s lithium is extracted from  mineral-rich brine in aquifers of high-altitude salt lakes.

The process begins by drilling down to the aquifer and pumping the brine to the surface in evaporation pools.

After 12-18 months all salts and lithium carbonate are extracted.

The current process of evaporation in the open air has a high environmental cost and long production periods.


Thanks to IKERA RD8 technology, the controlled evaporation process is reduced from 12-18 months to one day. Besides this, water is recovered, the space needed for evaporation / crystallisation  is reduced and the process is carbon neutral.


A general overview of the process:

Thermal energy is the main source of energy used during the evaporation process.

It is easily obtained thanks to the temperature of the brine in combination with CSP or geothermal energy, which are the most optimal given the location of the salt flats. Please notice that the evaporation is carried out at temperatures of 60º C.

The electrical consumption is minimal and also obtainable by Photovoltaics.

The brine is continuously pumped into a series of homogenisation tanks from which the IKERA RD8 physical reactor is fed. At this stage only H2o evaporates to later be condensed in state-of-the-art condensing equipment and returned to the subsoil.

The solid part, consisting of all the salts and minerals, at the desired humidity as low as 0.2%, is continuously precipitated out of the reactor according to requirements, depending on the lithium extraction method and the revaluation of the salts.

The technology allows the evaporation of the water from the brine whatever the concentration, allowing the reintroduction of the brine with higher concentrations once the desired salts have crystallised.


Viability studies have been successfully carried out  into different concentrations of water, salts and minerals from 99.7% to 10% water, being able to achieved the desired concentration of water as low as 0.2%.

Additionally it is possible to use the brine from reverse osmosis desalination plants where we find a 30% / 70% water/solid ratio, obtaining a greater number of salts and minerals.
We are looking for industrial partners or venture capital for industrial scaling.

Readings of interest

Environmental Impacts of Lithium Extraction
How Modern Society’s Dependence on Lithium For Batteries is Impacting the Natural World
Kayla Fox, 2020,11,7

University of Oslo,
Lithium extraction from the Andean salt flats – Social, cultural, and political issues