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Rock Tech Lithium, Papenburg AG and Knauf Gips KG establish German Lithium Institute

Ratingen, Germany

Rock Tech Lithium Inc., together with GP Papenburg Entsorgung Ost GmbH and Knauf KG, have founded the Institute for Technologies and Economics of Lithium (“ITEL”). The ITEL is managed as a registered limited liability company by Professors Ulrich Blum and Ralf B. Wehrspohn of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg as managing directors.

The ITEL is located in Halle an der Saale in Saxony-Anhalt. The institute aims to shape the interdisciplinary, CO2-neutral recycling economy for lithium in Germany. The switch to electromobility will make Germany the central location for battery production in Europe and thus also for the production of the crucial precursor lithium hydroxide. The reduction and reuse of the by-products generated during the refinement of lithium is the focus of the institute’s work. Another focus is research into new production steps to optimize by-product value creation.

„We at Rock Tech Lithium have already piloted a new refining process. Our nitrate process, produces very interesting by- products for the gypsum industry. With this institute we want to think further in this direction and it is part of our plan to become the first closed-loop lithium company in the world. In this context, the institute is a central building block in our sustainability strategy, which is not only about recycling our end product, but also about recycling all the materials that arise on the way to lithium hydroxide and setting up our production process in such a way that by- products of the highest possible reusability are generated in the process.“

„In times of dwindling resources, greater sensitivity to the issue of recycling is essential. Here, the aspect of resource economics is gaining in importance, especially the optimal reuse of by-products,“ said Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ulrich Blum of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

„The institute has a unique selling point in the German research landscape: a corresponding facility currently exists neither close to science nor as a cooperative project of industry. From our point of view, the cooperation promises high chances for a technological lead in Germany,“ concludes Prof. Dr. Ralf B. Wehrspohn from Martin Luther University Halle- Wittenberg.

The institute consists of three departments: In addition to the „Material Economics“ department, which is primarily dedicated to byproduct value creation, the „Green Hydrogen“ department is working on CO2-neutral production, and the „Recycling and Resources“ department is working on optimizing refinery processes.