As the world’s first seawater lithium extraction project commences in Qingdao, the innovative method has attracted significant attention in the market. Although extracting lithium from seawater is currently a challenging process due to the low concentration of lithium ions, experts suggest that future technological innovations may enable large-scale, efficient extraction.
On March 8, a groundbreaking partnership between Qingdao Water Group and Lisi Technology was announced, unveiling the world’s first seawater desalination concentrated brine lithium extraction project. This collaboration could herald a new era for lithium resources, providing an environmentally friendly, scalable approach to lithium extraction.
Seawater lithium extraction offers multiple advantages, including recycling metallic lithium and converting solar energy into chemical energy. While the technical feasibility of seawater lithium extraction is still under debate, the maturity of the technology and its cost-effectiveness will ultimately determine its success.
China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of lithium salts, faces increasing demand for lithium resources as its new energy automobile industry rapidly expands. With seawater containing approximately 230 billion tons of lithium resources—16,000 times the total mineable land lithium resources—extracting lithium from seawater could present a promising solution to meet global demands.
In response to the growing need for lithium resources, nations like the United States, the European Union, Brazil, and South Korea are intensifying their control of key resources such as lithium. Meanwhile, domestic mining offers another avenue to bolster lithium resource supply.
Several companies are already exploring seawater lithium extraction technologies, conducting research and developing applications for seawater desalination and lithium extraction. As the lithium market continues to expand, seawater lithium extraction could become an integral part of the industry’s future landscape.