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Coventry based Salinity Solutions aims to crowdfund £400K to trial lithium production from geothermal UK waters

26 October 2021
The Business Magazine article image for: Coventry based Salinity Solutions aims to crowdfund £400K to trial lithium production from geothermal UK waters

University tech spin-out Salinity Solutions, which wants to deploy its patented desalination technology to help drive the UK's young lithium mining industry, is seeking to raise £400,000 through the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The Coventry based company is partnering with the mineral exploration and mining industry with a compact, energy-efficient desalination system that can concentrate the salts in ground water to extract a mineral rich brine.

The company will be field-testing the system with eco-technology company Cornish Lithium, which has secured agreements with the owners of mineral rights over a large area of the county of Cornwall.

Salinity Solution’s patented desalination technology achieves the maximum yield of any known available system, but at up to half the energy consumption and with a much smaller footprint.

In its Crowdcube pitch, the company says: "Lithium extraction is just the beginning. We believe that our technology has the potential to enable cleaner desalination across a range of polluting industries, with a total market projected to be worth $26 billion by 2025. This will help to drive scale and growth for Salinity Solutions and it will enable industrial and mineral extraction processes to operate more sustainably."

The technology results from more than a decade’s research by Professor Philip Davies, and is an adaptation of an established technique called batch reverse osmosis, which uses a partially permeable membrane to separate water from ions and molecules.

Birmingham university initially patented the technology in 2018, and licensed it to the newly formed spinout company earlier this year.

Salinity Solutions is now backed by Coventry based Clean Engineering, which has provided investment and a structured product development process, and Clean Engineering's Richard Bruges has become a Director.  The company has also appointed Antony Cockle as Commercial Director.

Salinity Solutions says the Crowdcube investment will enable it to build the first in-field trial system with Cornish Lithium and secure  customer orders

Salinity Solutions is quietly confident that the unit supplied will pass the rigours of on-site testing in Redruth, Cornwall.  Tim Naughton said: “The unit we supply to Cornish Lithium has been designed to withstand the elements.  We’ve simulated real-world conditions in the laboratory using feed water supplied by Cornish Lithium, and the system is reacting as expected and to the efficiencies predicted by our algorithms.”

Dr Rebecca Paisley, Exploration Geochemist at Cornish Lithium, said:  “We are actively engaging with companies developing innovative, extraction technologies that are energy efficient, with a small footprint, and capable of processing the unique geothermal waters found in Cornwall. The technology being developed by Salinity Solutions meets our criteria and we look forward to testing their pilot system at our Geothermal Water Research Site to potentially aid in the production of lithium salts.”

Earlier this year Cornish Lithium Ltd itself successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube raising £6 million to progress its geothermal and hard rock projects in Cornwall. The Company opened up the opportunity to pre-registered investors today at 9:00am and had raised it’s £6 million target within 20 minutes.

Lithium is used in electric car batteries and static storage devices for electricity, and the global demand for this rare earth element is rapidly escalating.  Although it is vital to the UK’s industrial strategy as it moves towards a zero-carbon future, the country has no indigenous source of this mineral.

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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