Watson-Marlow pumps perform at Cornish Lithium Shallow Geothermal Test Site

Five 500 sequence cased peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions are taking half in an necessary function in a demonstration plant at Cornish Lithium’s Shallow Geothermal Test Site within the UK.
Originally built to test the idea of extracting lithium from geothermal waters, Cornish Lithium is now working on an upgraded version of the test plant as its drilling program expands, ultimately with the purpose of developing an environment friendly, sustainable and cost-effective lithium extraction supply chain.
The initial enquiry for pumps came from GeoCubed, a joint venture between Cornish Lithium and Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL). GEL owns a deep borehole site at United Downs in Cornwall the place plans are in place to fee a £4 million ($5.2 million) pilot plant.
“GeoCubed’s course of engineers helped us to design and commission the test plant forward of the G7, which might run on shallow geothermal waters extracted from Cornish Lithium’s personal analysis boreholes,” Dr Rebecca Paisley, Exploration Geochemist at Cornish Lithium, mentioned.
Adam Matthews, Exploration Geologist at Cornish Lithium, added: “Our shallow web site centres on a borehole that we drilled in 2019. A special borehole pump [not Watson-Marlow] extracts the geothermal water [mildly saline, lithium-enriched water] and feeds into the demonstration processing plant.”

The five Watson-Marlow 530SN/R2 pumps serve two different parts of the take a look at plant, the primary of which extracts lithium from the waters by pumping the brine from a container up via a column containing a massive quantity of beads.
“The beads have an lively ingredient on their floor that is selective for lithium,” Paisley explained. “As water is pumped through the column, lithium ions attach to the beads. With the lithium separated, we use two Watson-Marlow 530s to pump an acidic resolution in various concentrations by way of the column. The acid serves to remove lithium from the beads, which we then transfer to a separate container.
“The pumps are peristaltic, so nothing however the tube comes into contact with the acid resolution.”

She added: “We’re utilizing the remaining 530 series pumps to assist perceive what other by-products we can make from the water. For diaphragm seal , we will reuse the water for secondary processes in business and agriculture. For this reason, we now have two different columns working in unison to strip all other parts from the water as we pump it by way of.”

According to Matthews, circulate rate was among the main reasons for choosing Watson-Marlow pumps.
“The column needed a circulate rate of 1-2 litres per minute to suit with our check scale, so the 530 pumps have been best,” he says. “The other consideration was selecting between handbook or automated pumps. At the time, as a result of it was bench scale, we went for guide, as we knew it will be straightforward to make adjustments whereas we had been nonetheless experimenting with course of parameters. However, any future industrial lithium extraction system would in fact reap the advantages of full automation.
Paisley added: “The wonderful factor about having these 5 pumps is that we can use them to assist evaluate different applied sciences shifting ahead. Lithium extraction from the type of waters we find in Cornwall just isn’t undertaken anywhere else on the earth on any scale – the water chemistry here is exclusive.
“It is actually essential for us to undertake on-site test work with a wide range of totally different corporations and technologies. We want to devise the most environmentally accountable solution using the optimum lithium restoration method, on the lowest possible operating value. Using local firms is a half of our technique, significantly as continuity of supply is vital.”

To help fulfil the necessities of the subsequent test plant, Cornish Lithium has enquired after more 530SN/R2 pumps from Watson-Marlow.
“We’ve additionally requested a quote for a Qdos one hundred twenty dosing pump from Watson-Marlow, so we will add a sure quantity of acid into the system and achieve pH balance,” Matthews says. “We’ll be doing extra drilling within the coming 12 months, which can enable us to check our technology on a number of websites.”


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