The demand for lithium 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. DLE technology is enabled by use of 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 a brine has many variables including water requirements, energy, CO2 emissions, etc. however lithium concentration in the raw feed brine has the biggest impacts, as concentration dictates brine volumes needed and equipment sizing for the loading of lithium onto adsorption or ion exchange materials.  As such, the higher the lithium concentration, the lower the brine volume needed in loading lithium onto the adsorption or ion exchange materials and consequently, the smaller the pumping equipment required. In turn, the lower the concentration, the greater the brine volume needed and in turn, the bigger the pumping equipment required. Additionally, brine source development not only requires economic needs to be met but also environmental needs of sustainability, less CO2 emissions, higher water reuse and less energy.  

  • Tested and proven on lithium brine sources

  • Scalable design for staged production growth

  • Up to 50% reduction in feed flow rate

  • Up to 95% water recovery

  • Up to 50% reduction in CO2

  • 20X concentration  of lithium

Advantages of


Forward Water offers Li-FO™, the first “tunable” industrial forward osmosis (FO) system for DLE optimization. Not all brines are created equal as higher lithium content represents better production economics. This means that unconventional brine sources with low level lithium are typically avoided.  Li-FO™ unlocks unconventional lithium brine sources by concentrating and tuning lithium context within them by up to 20X through a continuous, closed loop water extraction process, recovering reusable clean water up to 95% and feed flow rate reductions up to 50%.  Li-FO™ optimizes DLE performance by tuning and increasing lithium concentration within brines, delivering faster loading, better extraction kinetics with lower capital and operational costs.

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