Rockwell Automation supports environmentally sustainable production of lithium to secure supply in the UK.
Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s leading industrial automation and digital transformation company, is collaborating with Cornish Lithium Plc to build a demonstration plant to validate sustainable manufacturing of lithium hydroxide from micaceous granite.
The Cornish Lithium demonstration plant will be controlled by Rockwell Automation’s modern PlantPAx® distributed control system . This modern DCS provides a single plant-wide control system and greater flexibility to support better business decision-making.
Phil Hadfield, Managing Director of Rockwell Automation UK, said:
Rockwell Automation has both the technology and industry expertise to support the complex lithium mining process.
“We have successfully worked on lithium-related projects around the world, including Australia , Africa and South America . Rockwell Automation’s integrated architecture provides end-to-end system integration. The systems are designed with scalability in mind, and take advantage of the latest advances in digital technology.”
Cornish Lithium is licensed for the acid leaching, selective precipitation and crystallisation process developed for the creation of lithium hydroxide from micaceous granite. This process is expected to be more environmentally friendly than the traditional hard rock process, which usually requires a major calcination step, where the ore is calcined at 1,000°C.
The viability of the process has already been tested in a small pilot plant in Australia and has shown that it can produce lithium hydroxide monohydrate. The next step is to build a demonstration plant at the site in Cornwall. This will be a complete end-to-end conceptual process, from raw material to lithium hydroxide, using the same equipment as a large-scale plant, with the exception of one or two changes for scale reasons.
This real process simulation will reassure all stakeholders and potential customers of the effectiveness of Cornish’s ore processing technology, prior to the construction of a full scale production plant.
David Moseley, process manager, hard rock minerals, at Cornish Lithium, said:
Rockwell Automation will play a critical role in what we’re doing.
“We want to try to simulate as much as possible the control of industrial processes that we could use on a large scale. We are trying to fit most of this into the demonstration plant because it is a complex multi-stage process with many recycles, where sequential operations, particularly filtration, and process control is key.”
“Rockwell Automation is developing a process control philosophy based on our instrumentation. It is a series of different process control units that must be coordinated in order to have a plant that works effectively”.
Two plants will be built: one is an ore concentration plant where ore ore is crushed, ground and separated to create lithium-enriched mica concentrate. The second is the chemical plant, with a hydrometallurgical acid leach system that produces lithium sulphate, which is then converted into lithium hydroxide.
The chemical plant combines chemical reactors, precipitators, filtration and crystallization. The demonstration plant is currently under construction and, once operational, is expected to be in operation for one year.
Rockwell Automation sostiene la produzione ecosostenibile del litio per garantire l’approvvigionamento nel Regno Unito, BRUXELLES, 19 aprile 2023
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