The demand for electric vehicles (EVs) that require lithium batteries is currently outpacing the lithium supply chain. Summit Nanotech addresses the challenges associated with securing a sustainable lithium supply in meeting the global demand required for the energy transition.
Summit Nanotech uses its patented technology to extract lithium from salar brines in a process that enables the remaining brine to be reinjected into the reservoir to preserve aquifer integrity.
Brine flows into a pre-treatment process removing specific solids and brine impurities.
denaLi™ DLE and Reinjection
Treated brine flows into the denaLi™ system. Lithium is selectively captured from the brine and directed downstream for further processing. Minerals and impurities left behind are reinjected.
Lithium Concentration and Water Recovery
Lithium-rich brine is concentrated to a degree that is most suitable for the process of carbonation. Fresh water generated during this stage is recycled and reduces the total fresh water required for the process.
Concentrated lithium solution undergoes polishing to remove any remaining impurities in preparation for carbonation.
Lithium chloride reacts with sodium carbonate to produce the final lithium carbonate (Li₂CO₃) product.
Battery Grade Lithium
Lithium carbonate for end-use in mobile battery applications such as electric vehicles.
The two primary sources of lithium are brine and hard rock.
Brine is plentiful in South America and contains enough lithium to power the growing demand for the energy transition. The traditional extraction process for brine includes large evaporation ponds that utilize solar energy and chemicals to produce lithium. This process worked and now we look to evolve production so that it requires less land, creates less waste, and in less time.
Alternatively, lithium can be found elsewhere in hard rock mines, which involves mechanical, thermal, and chemical processes to extract and process, resulting in larger greenhouse gas emissions and ecological footprint.
Salar brines in South America are unique in that they are found at very high altitudes in desert locations. Using traditional evaporation ponds, the water is evaporated from the brine using solar radiation and chemical additives to precipitate other dissolved salts, along with up to 60% of the lithium, until a concentrated lithium solution remains. This process removes vast amounts of water from the ecosystem, putting a strain on the nearby communities that rely on the scarce freshwater in existing aquifers, in addition to the ecological impacts to the land. As companies lean into improving ESG goals, many are embracing alternative technologies to ensure everyone can participate in a greener economy while also acknowledging the rights and needs of communities affected by mining operations.
Lithium deposits are most prevalent in South America and are responsible for approximately half of global lithium resources through salar (salt flat) brines.
Summit Nanotech has designed direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology to produce lithium in a way that supports making energy transition accessible for all.
Summit Nanotech stands with the evolving mining industry. Sustainable innovation and leadership is at the core of everything we do. Our holistic approach to the lithium supply chain enables us to work alongside communities and customers. Tested in the field, our technology reimagines lithium mining using a patented sorbent material to extract high-purity lithium faster from the richest resources in the world.
Lithium supply will need to grow 20x by 2050.
Batteries are expected to make up 90% of lithium demand by 2030.
The battery market is expected to reach $0.5 trillion per year by 2035.
Brine is placed in giant evaporation ponds
Water is evaporated by the sun, while the contaminants are precipitated through the evaporation of the water and the addition of chemicals
Brine flows through sorbent to remove lithium
The lithium-depleted brine, which is unchanged except for the removal of lithium, is reinjected into the salar
Product is a highly concentrated lithium solution with other contaminants
Waste solids left behind
Product is a highly concentrated lithium solution with minimal contaminants
No solid waste is produced during extraction as the salts remain dissolved in the reinjected brine
Additional chemical processing needed to remove contaminants
Technology rejects impurities, resulting in a higher purity product
Less post-processing required as the solution contains fewer contaminants
Large ecological footprint
96% less land required
40-65% yield of lithium from the evaporation ponds
Greater than 90% lithium yield through direct lithium extraction
Process takes about 18 months
Process takes about 1 day
Our denaLi™ is a patented DLE (direct lithium extraction) solution designed to economically and sustainably unlock lithium from the richest resources in the world. We apply advanced chemistry and engineering to extract high-quality lithium from brine solution faster than traditional methods. We use sustainable practices that both mining companies and vehicle manufacturers require. And we are setting the bar high.
Our multi-client pilot project is processing brines in the heart of the lithium triangle. Results from the pilot will be used to advance the denaLi™ lithium extraction processes toward full commercialization.
Sustainable lithium production will be critical in meeting the growth in EV demand and realize the energy transition for decarbonization. Summit aims to achieve this mandate differently.
We are enabling the conversion to EVs by unlocking the supply of lithium faster so that mining companies can align production with demand.
Water matters. Our process dramatically reduces the amount of freshwater needed and the spent brine is reinjected into the salar to support natural aquifers.
Our alignment with local communities and government bodies supports permitting and development in the most sustainable manner.
Safeguarding for sustainability. Our technology decreases land use by more than 26x compared to traditional methods.
Summit Nanotech continues to target the delivery of quality lithium, higher yields, faster processing time, improved margins, while maintaining industry leading sustainability towards a cleaner feature. What does this mean for you?
Our technology proves the quality of lithium in your brine resources to increase shareholder confidence and improve the value of your assets.
We are a team of industry leaders that can address everything from technology design to field implementation, as well as accelerate project timelines.
We work with all levels of government and communities on policy, permitting, and engagement for a more sustainable future.
We help mining companies produce high-quality lithium faster and can integrate with existing operations to minimize disruptions.