How to Pump Lithium Slurry Safely and Without Damaging the Product

With this pump, you increase the efficiency of pumping lithium slurry

The demand for batteries is constantly increasing. Which also means a growing interest in making production as efficient as possible. One of the decisive factors for efficient battery production is the selection of the right pump because lithium is one of the most demanding pumping media due to its reaction sensitivity, among other things. Choosing the right pump was also a challenge faced by a Chinese battery manufacturer.

As a global specialist in complex fluid management, NETZSCH Pumps & Systems has specialised on pumping demanding media. Thereby we promise you Proven Excellence - outstanding performance in all areas. We will show you how to pump lithium slurry efficiently and simultaneously gently while complying with the strictest safety regulations.

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Lithium, Battery, NETZSCH, Pumps, Systems

Challenges for pumps when processing lithium

Lithium is the lightest metal with the lowest density of all solid elements. In nature, however, it does not occur in elemental form due to its high reactivity. At room temperature, lithium is only stable for a long time in dry air but reacts slowly to form lithium nitride. In humid air, a matt grey lithium hydroxide layer quickly comprises on the surface. This also poses a significant challenge to lithium slurry pumps. Like all alkali metals, elemental lithium already reacts in contact with skin moisture, causing severe burns. Problems that the Chinese battery manufacturer also had to contend with. Nevertheless, lithium is indispensable, especially for battery production. In batteries, the positive ions of lithium are transported through the electrolyte between the cathode and the anode. These are responsible for charging and discharging the battery. Due to increasing e-mobility, the demand for lithium is also rising. Production efficiency must be increased to meet this demand in the future and prevent supply bottlenecks. A decisive point in increasing efficiency is the choice of suitable pumps.

Things to consider when choosing a pump for conveying lithium

Lithium slurry is a suspension of lithium carbonate and water with high viscosity. In other words, it is viscous and has a high level of resistance when pumping through pipes and pumps, reducing the flow rate. In addition, lithium slurry often contains sand, clay and other solid components that are abrasive and wear down the internal surfaces of pumps and pipes. Due to its high salt content, lithium is also corrosive. This can lead to damage and leaks, causing expensive repairs and downtime for you. In addition, lithium sludge tends to sediment. This means the mixture's solids and water can separate over time, causing pump clogs and blockages. Lithium slurry is a challenging fluid for pumps due to its high viscosity, abrasiveness, corrosiveness and solids separation. Used pumps must be robust, corrosion-resistant and able to handle the increased stresses associated with pumping lithium slurry. As a global specialist in complex fluid management, NETZSCH has the optimal solution for safely pumping lithium in its portfolio for you.


mPas viscosity are no problem

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The NEMO® BH hygienic pump in compact block design is used for hygienic applications in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and chemical industries. 

How to pump lithium slurry safely and efficiently at the same time

Therefore, a battery manufacturer in China relies on NEMO® progressing cavity pumps in stainless steel design with a flexible rod from NETZSCH. The main feature of this pump type is the underlying progressing cavity principle. A helical rotor rotates in an oscillating manner in a geometrically matched stator. This results in uniform delivery chambers in which the medium is moved continuously and gently from the suction to the discharge side. Hence, you can pump lithium slurry without pressure fluctuations, pulsation or shear forces.

To meet the high requirements of the reaction-sensitive light metal, a flexible rod connects the drive to the shaft instead of open or oil-filled joints. The rod is shrunk to the rotor and the connection point of the drive shaft. This makes both transitions hermetically sealed. Since no components are in contact with each other, the flexible rod hardly wears out and requires neither seal nor lubrication. Thus, there are hardly any maintenance costs for you. For the same reason, a PTFE sleeve seal without oil is used as a coupling insert. In addition, the polished stainless steel surfaces ensure that the medium cannot get stuck. This reduces contamination to a minimum. In addition, this makes the pump particularly easy for you to clean, which is an essential prerequisite in a chemical process. To accommodate the highly explosive mixture of the medium, the pumps are driven by an electric motor. Therefore, the Chinese battery manufacturer increased its efficiency significantly and, at the same time, its safety. Let our experts advise you and find the right pump solution for your application.

NEMO® BH hygienic pump in compact block design

  • Medium: Lithium slurry
  • Capacity: 0.9 to 2.4 m3/h
  • Temperature: 20 °C
  • Pressure: 8 to 12 bar
  • Viscosity: 3.000 to 35.000 mPas
NEMO® BH Hygienic Pump in Compact Block Design, NETZSCH, Pumps, Systems