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The demand for lithium (Li) exceeds current global production capacity, requiring a 480% increase from 345,000 to 2 million metric tonnes/year by 2030. To meet this massive demand, new and unconventional lithium resources must be found and developed as soon as possible.


The fastest and most efficient way of producing lithium is from brine using Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE), yielding lithium product in hours instead of months or years. DLE technology is enabled by use of either adsorption or ion exchange materials, selectively and directly extracting lithium from brine sources.


The challenge with DLE technology however is that every brine source is unique, having specific mineral content, characteristics, and consequently different economics of production. For a DLE technology to work, it must be matched and optimized to a specific brine source making DLE selection “brine source specific”. Production economics of lithium from brine has many operating variables including water requirements, energy usage, chemicals, CO2 emissions, etc. however it is the lithium concentration within the raw brine which dictates the economical viability of production, as Li concentration dictates brine volume and pumping equipment size needed for the loading of lithium onto or into the DLE materials.  As such, the higher the lithium concentration, the lower the volume and the smaller the pump sizing needed. Conversely, the lower the Li concentration, the higher the volume and the bigger the pump sizing needed. Lower lithium concentrations in brine means higher CAPEX/OPEX  influencing any Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) in a less than favorable way. Additionally, another component of a PEA is the E in ESG requiring operations to be sustainable, with minimum CO2 emissions, maximum water recovery and when possible, use of alternative, cleaner energy sources. FWTC's Li-FO ™ meets client needs in Pre & Post DLE operations, delivering up to 95% water recovery, Li concentration factors (C.F.) up to 20X and 50% reduction in CO2 emissions. If lower CO2 emissions is needed, Solar-FO™ with with integrated of solar thermal operations maybe considered.

  • Benefits Pre & Post DLE Operations

  • Scalable design for staged production growth

  • Up to 50% reduction Pre-DLE feed flow

  • Up to 95% water recovery

  • Up to 50% reduction in CO2  

  • up to 20X Li              DLE eluate

Advantages of


Forward Water offers Li-FO™, the first “tunable” industrial forward osmosis (FO) system for Pre & Post DLE optimization. Not all brines are created equal with higher lithium content representing better economic production than lower. This means that unconventional brine sources, having low level lithium content are typically avoided.  Li-FO™ unlocks unconventional lithium sources by tuning and concentrating lithium by up to 20X through a continuous, closed loop water extraction process, recovering clean reusable water up to 95% with feed flow rate reductions up to 50%.  Li-FO™ optimizes DLE performance in both Pre & Post DLE operations by tuning and increasing lithium concentration within brines and DLE eluates, delivering faster loading, better extraction kinetics and improved contaminant removal at lower CAPEX & OPEX than conventional technology.

Li-FO™ - Tune in and dial up your lithium concentration

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