Progress with preparation and characterisation of lithium selective membranes
SEArcularMINE project partners, Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnologica (IBET) presented their research at the International Congress on Membranes & Membrane Processes (ICOM 2020, in December 2020).
The iBET team presented their ongoing work on preparation and characterisation of lithium selective membranes (WP4 in SEArcularMINE). By adding polystyrene sulfonate sodium salt (PSS–Na) and lithium triflate (LiCF3SO3) into the sulfonated polyethersulfone (SPES) matrix with 20% w/w content of hydrogen manganese oxide (HMO), they were able to increase Li+/Mg2+ ideal selectivity almost 4 times, up to an average value of 11.75 [Saif et al., JMS 620, 2021, 118891]. This work on improving membrane efficiency will contribute to the overall SEArcularMINE objective of creating a more effective, sustainable approach to mineral extraction.
Currently, more membranes are being prepared by electrospinning, aiming to increase the selectivity of the membranes even further. In addition, the iBET team is now developing, and manufacturing new, 3D-printed gaskets to promote better fluid distribution and mixing. These will be incorporated into membrane-based lithium recovery devices.
iBET team member, Saif Ullah holding a lithium selective membrane and gasket, with the 3D printer in the background.