Contributory Category:  ENG

Country:  Japan

From:  Japan Technology Highlights
       29 June 1994
       v. 5, no. 13
       p. 6
       Translated from Japanese from
       Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun

KEYWORDS: Japan;  Electrochemistry, Nuclear Fusion, Seawater


Professor Y. Furuya of the Engineering Department, Nihon Bunri
University has succeeded in collecting Li concentrated 32,300
times from sea water utilizing an artificial ocean current.  The
adsorbent called "Lichitoru", developed by Professor Furuya in
1993, was utilized to collect Li in four hours.  According to
Professor Furuya, "Collection of Li utilizing ocean current is
very rare.  It enables reducing the production cost of Li to less
than half compared with that from land ores.  " The result will
be announced at the Japan Atomic Energy Conference to be held in
Tokyo in November.

The supply of Li has increased commensurate with the increased
applications in batteries and coolants.  Application is expected
in Al alloys and the manufacturing of nuclear fusion fuels. 
While Li is being mined from natural ores, the trace amount
present in the ores increases the cost.  Lichitoru is a
crystalline substance of 20-30 micrometer particle size obtained
by mixing MnCO3 and LiOH in 2:1 ratio and calcining at
approximately 39 C.  The powder was spread over an acrylic plate
(3Ox6O Cm^2) with an adhesive to form a Li collection plate. 30
tons of sea water obtained from Oita harbor filled the tank.  An
ocean current of 0.7 m/s (similar to the Kuroshio current) was
created in the tank, and six Li collection panels were installed
parallel to the current.  After 4 h and 15 min, the collection
panel was raised, and Li was dissolved in dilute hydrochloric
acid.  As a result, they have collected 3230 ppm  max
concentrated Li solution.  Since the sea water from Oita harbor
contains 0.1 ppm Li, this translates to an enrichment of 32,300