top of page

Li-FO™ and Solar-FO™  


The demand for lithium (Li) exceeds current global production capacity, requiring a 480% increase from 345,000 to an estimated 2-3 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 sorbent 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 & reagents, CO2 emissions, etc. however it is the lithium concentration within a raw brine that greatly influences the economic viability of any DLE production process, as Li concentration dictates the brine volumes needed to fully load Li onto a DLE media during its adsorption cycle.  As such, the higher the lithium concentration, the lower the brine volume needed resulting in reduced capital and operating expenditures (CAPEX/OPEX) due to smaller pump sizing. Conversely, the lower the Li concentration, the higher the volume needed for Li loading, resulting in higher CAPEX/OPEX. As such the outlook of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) is greatly influenced by lithium brine concentration. In addition PEA's must also consider the E in ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) regarding DLE operations, requiring them to be sustainable with minimum CO2 emissions, maximum water recovery and when possible, use of alternative, clean energy sources. FWTC's Li-FO ™ meets client needs in Pre & Post DLE operations, delivering up to 95% water recovery, increased Li concentration >20X, reduced CO2 emission >50% within a scalable, closed loop process. If lower CO2 emissions is needed, Solar-iFO™ with with integrated solar thermal operations maybe considered.

  • Benefits Pre & Post DLE Operations

  • Scalable design for staged production growth

  • 99.9% Lithium retention

  • Up to 95% water recovery

  • Up to 50% reduction in CO2  

  • >20X Li  DLE eluate

Advantages of


Forward Water offers Li-FO™ and Solar-iFO™ the first “tunable” industrial forward osmosis (FO) systems for use in Pre & Post DLE operations. Not all brines are created equal as brines with higher lithium content provide better economics in DLE processes than lower. This means that unconventional brine resources, having low level lithium content will be avoided.  With its ability to concentrate lithium in pre and post DLE operations, Li-FO™ unlocks the resources of unconventional reserves, by tuning and concentrating low level lithium concentrations >20X through a continuous, closed loop process, extracting clean reusable water up to 95% with FO concentrate up to 260,000 ppm TDS.  Li-FO™ and Solar-iFO™ optimizes the performance of any DLE process by tuning and increasing the lithium concentration within brine and DLE eluate, delivering faster loading, better extraction kinetics and improved post DLE unit operations through maximized lithium concentration,  with lower CAPEX & OPEX than conventional technology.

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

bottom of page