Adionics: Mining the sea to save the Earth

Adionics has invented a new technology for extracting minerals from the sea (potassium, lithium or sodium) in a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way.

The startup agreed to answer our questions. This is a translation, the original is in french.

What environmental issues is Adionics addressing?

Adionics is an innovative start-up founded in 2012 in Paris. Our liquid-liquid extraction technology makes it possible to selectively extract salts from water, such as lithium, potassium or sodium salts. The technology was developed on an eco-responsible basis: no water consumption, low energy consumption, no chemical reagents and a waste-to-product approach. Indeed, selective extraction makes it possible to produce products from the extracted salts (soda, bleach, lithium products, iodine, etc.)

What does Adionics offer?

Adionics has developed a liquid-liquid extraction technology for high-value salts, such as Lithium, Iodides, Potassium, Sodium, etc. The salts present in the effluent are extracted at room temperature, then hot reconcentrated in a brine at the end of the process.

This liquid-liquid extraction process enables lithium to be recovered, purified and concentrated in an hour, whereas the traditional method (evaporation in brine) takes between 9 and 18 months.

What added value do you offer your customers?

We offer our customers a new technology. We believe that it can revolutionize the mining industry by bringing a very short brine processing time, a green and efficient approach with doubled lithium extraction yields and very high purity. Similarly, Adionics will provide new, virtuous solutions for the treatment and reclamation of various brines: solving an environmental problem while creating value!

Have you identified any competitors? If so, what are your competitive advantages?

Technologies are being developed around lithium extraction. They are driven by mining companies, often using the same extractant that has long been known, but with limited selectivity. Other technologies are being developed, but are still based on conventional approaches involving the massive use of chemical reagents. What sets our approach apart is that our regeneration is thermal, which is unique worldwide, and avoids the use of chemicals. What’s more, our extractants are remarkably selective, giving us access to very pure production, which is of great economic value in this market.

What’s preventing you from fully occupying your market?

We are currently in the industrialization phase. We have carried out 2 industrial pilots that have demonstrated the performance of our desalination technology. Our next step is to carry out an industrial pilot on lithium extraction, which will enable us to launch the first industrial units within 2 years. The market is booming, and we need to demonstrate the feasibility of our technology to a mining sector that is fairly conservative, but aware of the need to modify its production methods to make them more efficient and greener.