[Extract] "You can't have a team of 200 scientists constantly tweaking the process to make it work!" - Andy Robinson - Standard Lithi
Andy Robinson is the President and COO of Standard Lithium. Standard Lithium coins itself America's 21st century Lithium Company, and indeed, they shall become the first lithium developer in the World to produce direct-extracted lithium at a commercial scale in El Dorado.
It's now several weeks that we're exploring together the depth of the lithium World, and we've heard quite a lot of things about Direct Lithium Extraction, or DLE. For instance, we've heard from Cris Moreno, the very recently-appointed CEO of Vulcan Energy Resources how: DLE is already commercial and accounts for 10% of the World's Lithium.
And yet, you've heard many of my other guests on that microphone discuss with me how DLE is not yet commercial, and might be the next big thing, assuming it gets to that commercial scale. So where's the truth?
Well, everybody's right here. What Cris Moreno refers to is that in Argentina and China, companies have been using DLE as one step of the lithium extraction process while still leveraging evaporation ponds as a sequel step.
What's still not reached yet, though, is a company or process that would be leveraging DLE and getting rid of evaporation ponds. And that is the game-changer that would unlock many more geographies and resources across the World, hence the legit excitement around it.
Now, excitement often comes as well with wide-ranging creativity, and right now, the DLE scene is blessed with blossoming companies trying out a wide range of technologies, let's face it, it's also because of that, that the lithium field is so thrilling for a water nerd like me.
But before further exploring these technical takes, I thought it would be worth following Ben Sparrow and Robert Mintak's advice and getting Andy Robinson on the microphone. Why so? Well, because if Standard Lithium is set to be the first company in the World to bring DLE to the commercial scale, without any evaporation ponds, it's probably because of him.
As you'll hear in a minute, he won't admit it, and he'll refer to luck, as Robert Mintak did before him. But still, from picking the right place to go all-in on DLE, to testing out a bunch of processes from lab to demo-scale continuously over the past three years, to the next steps on the horizon from lithium carbonate to hydroxide conversion and to carbon capture, it takes a sound methodology, and a cool head approach, which can probably inspire many in that field.
So without further due, let me leave the floor to Andy, to explore his 5-step rule for a good lithium project and learn from his learnings in El Dorado.
➡️ Check out the entire article on the 5 rules to a successful direct lithium extraction adventure on the Don't Waste Water Website
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