Zeotech (ZEO) values its close working relationship with The University of Queensland (UQ), which through UniQuest is a major shareholder with 6.44% of issued capital. This partnership places the company at the forefront of environmental mineral process technology development .
Zeotech holds novel and proprietary mineral processing technologies, developed by The University of Queensland for the manufacture (synthesizing) of synthetic zeolites. The patent-pending technologies possess the potential to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing zeolites, compared to conventional production processes.
Synthetic zeolites are used in a broad range of applications including – water treatment (purification and separation), agriculture, detergent builders and cracking processes in the pharmaceutical and petroleum industries.
Under lab conditions, The University of Queensland’s School of Chemical Engineering has demonstrated:
- up to 70% reduction in energy in the thermal activation stage;
- up to 80% reduction in production time in subsequent zeolite precipitation steps;
- significant reduction in by-product waste (high reagent recycling)
UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the UQ technology has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing zeolites, compared to current production processes.
“The UQ technology used to produce the synthetic zeolite has shown potential to reduce energy consumption and production time, compared to traditional methods in lab experiments.
“UniQuest is very pleased to have partnered with Zeotech for this promising technology. With the Zeotech licence, and an associated research agreement, we are excited to support Zeotech to explore broader use across multiple industry applications and further commercialise this technology to create change.” Dr Moss said.
Leached Spodumene Residue Treatment, mineral processing technology provisional patent lodged October 2020.
On 1st August 2020, Zeotech executed an accelerated research program with the University of Queensland’s School of Chemical Engineering (UQ), focused on evaluating the potential to efficiently synthesize zeolites from mine tailings and process residues.
During this dedicated research program UQ developed a novel process (flowsheet) for the manufacture of synthetic zeolites from lithium refinery process residue (leached spodumene).
The novel and proprietary process leverages low energy and production time efficiencies of the Company’s existing intellectual property portfolio – creating an innovative and cost-effective approach for the manufacture of zeolites from leached spodumene residue.
Zeotech considers the ability to convert lithium refinery process residue into high value zeolite holds tangible promise in improving economic and environmental outcomes for lithium refineries by offering an integrated solution capable of improving downstream margins by consuming leached spodumene residue streams.
The production of lithium concentrates from spodumene, results in the generation of a material proportion of fine leached spodumene ending up in processing residue stream (in some cases up to 70%). As lithium battery demand grows its anticipated that the lithium refinery sector will produce significant amounts of Li residue, hence innovative cleantech solutions are needed.
The novel flowsheet developed by Zeotech’s technical partners The University of Queensland has been successful in producing synthetic zeolite from leached spodumene residue.
UQ School of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Hong (Marco) Peng, Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellow (mid-career), said he was delighted with the outcomes achieved during the research program, culminating in the lodging of leached spodumene residue treatment provisional patent application.
“We continue to strengthen our commercialisation partnership with Zeotech, by developing novel and inventive zeolite mineral processing technologies that can help deliver solutions for mine waste streams and process residues.
This new patent application builds on our understanding of the synthesis of zeolites and presents a potentially economic solution to lithium refinery residue streams produced in the growing Lithium battery industry” Dr. Peng said.