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Zero Waste Converter: By-Products Commercial Use

Guben, Germany

Rock Tech, GP Papenburg and Schwenk have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in preparation for the commercial use of by-products from lithium production. The aim is to adopt the processes previously developed by the jointly founded Lithium Institute (ITEL) by the end of 2023 and thus to produce in a more resourceefficient and cross-industrial way potentially saving carbon emissions.

To implement its zero-waste strategy, Rock Tech is planning to discuss direct purchase agreements for its by-products with the German heavyweights of the construction industry GP Papenburg and Schwenk Zement. In preparation, the three companies therefore have agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding to further assess the process in which cross-industry collaboration could be implemented on commercial scale.

Among other ideas, the aim is to use alumosilicate from lithium processing in a resource-efficient way in the construction materials industry. This would enable Rock Tech to avoid waste that otherwise would occur and, together with GP Papenburg and Schwenk, to reduce carbon emissions across sectors. At the same time, the two construction companies will be given opportunities to develop new, innovative and sustainable products.

„In our raw material, spodumene, lithium is incorporated in mineral form in alumosilicate, which is a by-product of our lithium conversion. The fact that the alumosilicate is already calcined during the lithium conversion means that, at best, this process step can be avoided on the side of the cement industry, which can save energy and thus CO2 emissions there,“ says Martin Adorni, Rock Tech’s Head of Process and Technology Transfer, explaining the special feature of the process.

The project has been scientifically supported by the Lithium Institute (ITEL). The promising preliminary results are now to be further processed until the end of 2023. If the anticipated results are confirmed, a waste stream in lithium extraction could pay off ecologically and economically for Rock Tech through targeted purchase agreements.