Lithium is a critical component for electric vehicle battery production and other applications. Here’s how Bepex streamlines lithium production.
Electric vehicles and the lithium batteries that power them have become a critical component of a worldwide strategy towards sustainability. Bepex has been supplying processing technology for lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide production since the early 1990s. Now, with lithium producers straining to fulfill ever increasing demand, Bepex is pioneering systems to streamline lithium production while also reducing the energy needed and emissions resulting from processing.
Battery-grade lithium production often ends with a two step process: drying, then milling. Not with Bepex. Our process combines operations – saving time, energy and money. The Bepex PCX dries the lithium slurry or wet cake after conversion, while simultaneously milling it to a fine powder.
There is no room for impurities in battery-grade lithium. Bepex equipment performs drying and micronizing in a single step, minimizing the chance of contamination. Our equipment also is typically outfitted with ceramic components, which is more resistant to wear and doesn’t lead to metal contamination.
Less Energy Consumption
Combining drying and milling operations into one step reduces energy consumption and cuts emissions – huge challenges in battery-grade lithium production.
Two Processes. One Powerful Machine.
It’s critical for battery performance and safety that the moisture content of the lithium is kept to near-bone dry, usually in the PPM range. Bepex drying technology provides a fast, compact, one-step solution.
Battery-grade lithium requires a fine particle size, typically ranging from a D(50) of 3-5 microns. To achieve this, producers typically install energy-intensive air classifying mills after their drying process. Not Bepex. We combine the upstream drying and milling steps in a single operation, producing a fine, bone-dry powder.
Some producers opt to follow the drying and micronizing step with a cooling operation, quickly lowering the material temperature of the battery-grade lithium. The Bepex Solidaire indirect paddle dryer provides efficient cooling in a compact footprint.
All new inquiries begin with a feasibility study. These studies aim to provide preliminary insights into the viability of a commercial process. Using as little as 100 grams of material, we can begin early process design, develop plans for pilot-testing and/or confirmation, and begin providing early economic estimates. Our experience across our wide range of technologies gives us a unique ability to provide quick feedback on the feasibility of your process.
From our learnings, we’ll begin the process development work. The primary work in this phase takes place in the form of pilot-scale testing in our Process Development Center. Our pilot tests look a bit different than what you may have experienced in the past. Each test is designed to measure the system performance and feasibility rather than that of any single machine.
Each system is custom assembled for each test. Our goal is to provide as much of a pilot-scale simulation as possible while gathering scale-up data to deliver on commercial capacities. When a certain technology proves ineffective, we’ll draw from our range of options to determine if there is a better fit. The Process Development Center is our sandbox to build, test, and revise to ensure we get every detail right.
With a successful pilot simulation completed, we now have everything we need to scale up and provide proposals for capital equipment with included performance guarantees.
System Design And Build
After receipt of the purchase order, we begin with both equipment and system engineering. Each proprietary technology we sell is custom-designed and built per application. We do not have any off-the-shelf units. At this stage, your exact system begins to take shape, including auxiliary equipment, process flow diagrams, process and instrumentation diagrams, safety provisions, and more.
After delivery and installation of your new system, Bepex will provide a mechanical check to ensure everything is placed according to plan. This is followed shortly thereafter by system commissioning. This is where our pilot-scale simulations become invaluable, as our team of application engineers, controls technicians, and sales engineers begin working with your team to successfully bring your system online.
At this point, you’re up and running at rate, producing a quality product, but our work doesn’t stop there.
Following commissioning, Bepex remains a reliable partner, providing quality OEM parts, immediate field service, process optimization, training, system troubleshooting, and more. We have consistently had high customer retention rates, and we believe it is due in large part to our comprehensive approach to serving our customers long after the original sale.