The challenge

Lithium has recently been listed as one of the 35 minerals deemed critical to U.S. national security and the economy. As (hybrid)electric vehicle sales are projected to rapidly increase using lithium batteries, both lithium and boron are in high demand but with very little domestic supply.

Economic deposits containing borates are scarce, and two major companies produce over 80% of the world’s borate supply.

The solution

No mines in the world currently produce both borates and lithium, which is why the proposed Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project, located within the Silver Peak Mountain range in Nevada, represents a unique opportunity to fulfil a U.S. source of both critical raw materials. Rhyolite Ridge is a unique sedimentary deposit where lithium and boron can be readily leached from the host rock (Searlesite) using dilute sulphuric acid. SNC-Lavalin will design and engineer Rhyolite's sulphuric acid plant, which will produce 3,500 tonnes per day of sulphuric acid for the leaching process.

The outcome

The Howden SF 18.0 single-stage industrial turbo compressor, with its high aerodynamic efficiency and wide performance envelope, will be used to support the 3,500 MTPD sulfuric acid plant's leach process. With an impeller diameter of 1.8m, Howden is the only manufacturer with the capability and experience to deliver the largest centrifugal compressor in the sulfuric acid main blower market. Howden's longstanding experience in the sulphuric acid industry and its reliable, quality equipment will enable the project to move forward quickly. The compressor will be produced in Germany and packaged in Howden’s Springfield manufacturing facility in the USA.

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Howden SF 18.0 single-stage industrial turbo compressor

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