Vulcan pilot plant

Successful lithium production Vulcan Plants.

Vulcan is building several plants to execute its Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project.

Lithium Extraction Pilot Plant Vulcan pilot plant.

Since the beginning of 2021, Vulcan’s Lithium Extraction Pilot Plant has been in continuous and successful operation at multiple well locations to de-risk the lithium production process. The aim of operating the pilot plant was to test and optimise the process of Direct Lithium Extraction with our sorbent VULSORB®.

  • 10,000 hours of successful in-house pilot plant performance
  • Showing more than 90% lithium recoveries
  • 1000 cycles of sorbent life with no degradation
pilot plant Insheim, VULSORB
picture of the inside of the Vulcan Pilot Plant

Lithium Extraction Optimisation Plant Vulcan LEOP.

In April 2024, Vulcan has started the production of the first lithium chloride (LiCl) from the Lithium Extraction Optimisation Plant (LEOP). This is the first LiCl domestically produced from a local source with an entirely locally sourced value chain in Europe , for Europe.

In November 2023, Vulcan opened the Lithium Extraction Optimisation Plant (LEOP) in Landau, Germany. Representing a more than €40m investment by Vulcan, LEOP is an optimisation, operational training and product qualification testing facility, which is anticipated to produce the first tonnes of lithium chemicals from brine.

construction picture, LEOP

  • April 2024: Start of production (SOP)! Vulcan has produced the first lithium chloride (LiCl) from its Lithium Extraction Optimisation Plant (LEOP).
  • This is the first LiCl domestically produced from a local source in Europe, for Europe.
  • LEOP is showing strong early results consistently over 90% (up to 95%) lithium extraction efficiency from its Adsorption-type Direct Lithium Extraction (A-DLE) unit.
  • The SOP follows over three years and more than 10,000 hours of successful in-house A-DLE piloting by Vulcan, showing high lithium recoveries and thousands of cycles of adsorbent life with no material degradation.
  • Vulcan’s LEOP facility is equipped with world-leading technology designed to showcase the efficiency of our A-DLE process and environmental benefits, whilst training our commercial production team in a pre-commercial environment as we build the Phase One commercial plant.
  • LEOP is delivering production efficiency that is in line with expectations.
  • Once Phase One commercial production commences, it is estimated that Vulcan’s integrated renewable energy and ZERO CARBON LITHIUM™ business will produce enough lithium for approximately 500,000 EVs.

 

Find a video to LEOP’s start of production >here

The LiCl produced by LEOP represents the first lithium chemicals fully produced from a locally sourced raw material, i.e. extracted and then processed locally, at this plant scale in Europe. During hot commissioning and startup of LEOP, a generic aluminate-based lithium adsorbent was used, that has been used before in Vulcan’s lab and pilot plants. Vulcan’s high-performance aluminate-based lithium adsorbent VULSORB® will be used for the long-term operation. The next step will be conversion to a battery-grade lithium chemical in Vulcan’s downstream optimisation plant. The LiCl product (40% weight solution) produced from LEOP will be transported to Höchst Industrial Park Frankfurt, where Vulcan is currently completing its CLEOP which will convert the LiCl into battery grade Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate (LHM).

Once CLEOP is in operation, which is expected mid-2024, Vulcan will have produced the first fully integrated lithium battery chemicals in Europe, including conversion to a battery-grade chemical, with a by-product of renewable energy. These optimisation plants are analogous to Vulcan’s Phase One, Commercial plants, with similar process flowsheets, with the commercial project aiming for 24,000 tonnes per annum of lithium hydroxide production capacity, the financing process of which is currently being led by BNP Paribas.

Central Lithium Electrolysis Optimisation Plant Vulcan CLEOP.

In September 2023 we broke ground at our Central Lithium Electrolysis Optimisation Plant (CLEOP) in the Industrial Park in Frankfurt Höchst. The optimisation plant was built to start sending volume of product to offtakers for pre-qualifications testing. and aims to produce Europe’s first fully integrated lithium battery chemicals from our domestic resource.

CLEOP will be assembled on-site in the first quarter of 2024, with commissioning to commence thereafter, allowing for the first tonnes of carbon-neutral lithium hydroxide to be produced. In parallel, staff will be trained in the pre-commercial operational setting of the electrolysis of LiCl to LHM solution; LHM raw and pure crystallisation; and LHM drying.

Renewable energy plant Vulcan Geothermal Plant.

Geothermal plant to be built in collaboration with the City of Landau​.

  • Initially planned to produce mostly power, Vulcan’s new geothermal plant will increase heat production over time.​
  • Vulcan is negotiating a heat offtake agreement with the City of Landau to help them to decarbonise and localise their heat supply and move away from fossil gas.​
  • The City of Landau has publicly stated they are negotiating the sale of the “D12” area with Vulcan, an area they are currently converting from farm to industrial and commercial land.
drone shot of the geothermal power plant in Insheim
Vulcan geothermal plant in Insheim
geothermal power plant Insheim, pipes

Lithium Extraction Plant Vulcan LEP.

​Phase One commercial: Lithium Extraction Plant

  • Building permit submitted in November 2023, in line with Vulcan’s timeline.​
  • Will be constructed next to new Phase One Geothermal Plant in Landau.​
  • Total targeted capacity to be 24,000tpa LHM equivalent in LiCl form.​
  • From the LEP, LiCl solution will be transported to the CLP at Industrial Park Höchst (Frankfurt).​
  • Modular build allows for further phased development across other phases in Upper Rhine Valley Brine Field (URVBF).​
3d model

Central Lithium Plant Vulcan CLP.

  • CLP planned to be located in  Frankfurt (Industrial  Park Höchst). Close to 100,000sqm secured.​
  • Targeted 24,000tpa LHM capacity with space for further modular expansion.​
  • Conversion of LiCl to battery grade LHM using electrolysis. Only by-product (saleable) is HCl. Significant synergies with existing chlor-alkali producers in the same chemical park, e. g. Nobian.​
  • Recycle of purge streams back to LEP – low waste.​
  • Höchst is one of Europe’s largest industrial estates and is home to around 90 chemical and pharmaceutical companies. ​
  • Infraserv (industrial park operator) contracted to supply power, utilities and services.​
3d modell of the CLP

Industry water and brine cycle piping Site infrastructure.

  • Vulcan will use an intermediate heat exchangers at each well sites to transfer the heat from the geothermal brine into a closed loop industrial water cycle, which will send hot water by pipe to the district heating building and ORC facilities. Once the heat has been used at the district heating building and ORC, the then cold water is sent back to the heat exchanger.
  • The cooled Li-rich brine is sent from the intermediate heat exchanger to the LEP for lithium extraction to occur and then the Li-depleted brine pumped back to the well site for injection into the reservoir.
  • This approach has major operational advantages, mainly that the hot industrial water feeding the district heating and ORC system uses clean water and therefore there is no risk of scaling, and seeing as the brine is cooled at the intermediate heat exchanger then this significantly reduces the potential for scale in the pipeline and LEP. ​
infographic industry water cycle