06/12/2021 - 14:21

Infinity looks to ‘green’ hydrogen to power lithium plant

06/12/2021 - 14:21

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Infinity Lithium has entered a memorandum of understanding with global engineering titan, thyssenkrupp BU Mining to gauge the potential for green hydrogen to power a lithium chemical conversion process at its proposed San José lithium project in Spain. A recent scoping study evaluating underground mining and downstream lithium hydroxide production at San José envisaged 19,500 tonnes of annual battery grade lithium hydroxide production over 26 years.

Infinity looks to ‘green’ hydrogen to power lithium plant
: Infinity Lithium has entered a collaboration to assess the use of green hydrogen for chemical processing at its San José lithium project in Spain. Credit: File

Infinity Lithium Corporation has entered a memorandum of understanding with global engineering titan, thyssenkrupp BU Mining to gauge the potential for green hydrogen to power a lithium chemical conversion process at its proposed San José lithium project in Spain. A recent scoping study evaluating underground mining and downstream lithium hydroxide production at San José envisaged 19,500 tonnes of annual battery grade lithium hydroxide production over 26 years.

The venture will see pilot scale works utilising thyssenkrupp’s new hydrogen burner in Germany, coupled with feedstock from San José, to assess the merits of using green hydrogen to power a rotary kiln at Infinity’s proposed lithium production operation.

San José, located in the Extremadura region of western Spain, is the second largest hard rock lithium deposit in the European Union and takes in a whopping 111 million tonne resource going 0.61 per cent lithium oxide.

The recent scoping study projected a pre-tax net present value of US$811 million for the proposed project, with net cash flows from production clocking in at US$190m annually for the 26-year operation.

The study estimated a jaw dropping US$7.9 billion in total revenue and only 3.2 years to pay back the US$532m capital outlay required to bring San José to life.

Infinity believes the project could potentially utilise green hydrogen to power a rotary kiln required for the sulphate roast stage of the process flowsheet at San José.

Under the collaboration with thyssenkrupp, the German engineering outfit will weigh up using various compositions of natural gas and green hydrogen at San José.

Natural gas from a pipeline lying adjacent to San José will be considered, as will a combination of gas and hydrogen.

Infinity and thyssenkrup will also assess an alternative source of hydrogen for San José, including green hydrogen obtained locally, in conjunction with the potential development of specific infrastructure on site.

Interestingly, Infinity believes the cooperation with thyssenkrupp could also provide benefit to its newly incorporated ‘Infinity GreenTech’ company targeting the commercialisation of low carbon footprint lithium hard rock processing technologies.

Infinity GreenTech recently launched a provisional patent application for a cutting-edge lithium hydrometallurgical conversion process aiming to convert lithium raw materials to lithium chemicals by utilising renewable energy.

Infinity says the collaboration with thyssenkrupp will tackle potential pyrometallurgical applications using Infinity GreenTech’s novel technologies in lithium and battery material refining processes.

Infinity Lithium Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Ryan Parkin said: “The ability to be at the forefront of this global leading application of green hydrogen has wide ranging implications for the Company and the industry. Infinity and thyssenkrupp BU Mining are bringing world leading technologies to San José in alignment to Extremadura’s ambitions to produce green hydrogen from their vast renewable energy projects, and progress sustainable industrialisation in the region.”

thyssenkrupp BU Mining Chief Executive Officer, Jan Lüder said: “Global demand for raw materials is rising all the time, whilst there is consciousness about the finite nature of resources and the need to protect the environment. As one of the world's leading engineering and equipment supply companies for the mining industry, we are aware of our customers' needs to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations…

Among other developments, our pilot hydrogen/natural gas combustion facility allows us to evaluate with our customers the potential of using Green H2 in the mining industry as an alternative to fossil fuels with special attention to the final product quality. Our collaboration with Infinity Lithium is a great step in this direction and we are proud to support the development of a crucial project for Extremadura, Spain and Europe.”

Infinity aspires to bring San José into production whilst minimising social, environmental and visual impacts. Using green hydrogen to power chemical conversion at the operation could be a shrewd move for the aspiring lithium producer.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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