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Upper Rhine

Nobian, Vulcan in lithium deal 

Chlor-alkali producer Nobian, which was separated from the rest of Nouryon last year, has signed an agreement with German-Australian lithium developer Vulcan Energy to assess the feasibility of producing lithium hydroxide from lithium chloride in Germany. 

Nobian has an electrolysis and crystallisation demo-plant at its site in Frankfurt, near to Vulcan’s own geothermal-lithium reservoir sites in the Upper Rhine Valley area, where it plans to build several geothermal plants and a central lithium-hydroxide plant. 

They plan to build a demonstration plant to be ready by Q3, which will assess the possibility for a commercial lithium plant in which lithium chloride will be extracted from Vulcan’s geothermal brine using a direct process and converted to lithium hydroxide through electrolysis, without the need for fossil fuels or evaporation ponds. The process is also said to require less groundwater, land and energy than more common methods to extract lithium.

Vulcan has recently concluded lithium supply agreements with Volkswagen, Renault and Stellantis, which brought together Fiat Chrysler and PSA Peugeot-Citroen in 2021. This is one of several such partnerships aimed at securing the supply chain for lithium for batteries in Europe.

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