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

Five 500 series cased peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions are playing an important role in a demonstration plant at Cornish Lithium’s Shallow Geothermal Test Site in the UK.
Originally built to test the idea of extracting lithium from geothermal waters, Cornish Lithium is now working on an upgraded model of the take a look at plant as its drilling program expands, ultimately with the purpose of creating an efficient, sustainable and cost-effective lithium extraction provide chain.
The initial enquiry for pumps got here 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 check plant ahead 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 site centres on a borehole that we drilled in 2019. A particular borehole pump [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 parts of the test plant, the first of which extracts lithium from the waters by pumping the brine from a container up by way of a column containing numerous beads.
“The beads have an lively ingredient on their surface that’s selective for lithium,” Paisley defined. “As water is pumped through the column, lithium ions connect to the beads. With the lithium separated, we use two Watson-Marlow 530s to pump an acidic answer in numerous concentrations by way of the column. The acid serves to take away lithium from the beads, which we then switch to a separate container.
“The pumps are peristaltic, so nothing but the tube comes into contact with the acid resolution.”
She added: “We’re utilizing the remaining 530 sequence pumps to help perceive what different by-products we can make from the water. For instance, we can reuse the water for secondary processes in industry and agriculture. For this reason, we now have two different columns working in unison to strip all other elements from the water as we pump it through.”
According to Off-limits , circulate rate was among the major causes for selecting Watson-Marlow pumps.
“The column needed a flow rate of 1-2 litres per minute to fit with our test scale, so the 530 pumps were best,” he says. “The different consideration was choosing between guide or automated pumps. At the time, because it was bench scale, we went for guide, as we knew it might be simple to make adjustments whereas we had been still experimenting with course of parameters. However, any future commercial lithium extraction system would after all benefit from full automation.
Paisley added: “The great factor about having these 5 pumps is that we will use them to help consider different technologies transferring ahead. Lithium extraction from the sort of waters we discover in Cornwall just isn’t undertaken anywhere else on the planet on any scale – the water chemistry right here is unique.
“It is basically important for us to undertake on-site check work with a variety of different firms and applied sciences. We wish to devise essentially the most environmentally responsible answer using the optimum lithium restoration methodology, on the lowest attainable working value. Using local firms is a part of our strategy, particularly as continuity of provide is significant.”
To help fulfil the requirements of the subsequent test plant, Cornish Lithium has enquired after more 530SN/R2 pumps from Watson-Marlow.
“We’ve also requested a quote for a Qdos 120 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 more drilling in the coming 12 months, which is in a position to allow us to test our expertise on multiple websites.”
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