Advancements in mineral extraction are making it possible to transition smoothly from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Petrolithium: Lithium from petroleum brine to fuel the clean energy economy
The need for mining companies to invest in more efficient mineral extraction technologies is vital to a smooth transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. At the core of MGX Minerals is its new, unconventional way of recovering lithium from oilfield wastewater – “petrolithium” – that can diversify supply and help keep up with increasing demand.
MGX’s petrolithium mineral extraction technology has the potential to revolutionize the oil and gas industry, particularly in North America, by offering a new solution to intensifying challenges of managing wastewater and curbing environmental impacts. Similarly, petrolithium is poised to remake the global lithium market by creating new North American supplies outside of the long-dominant conventional supplies concentrated in South America and Australia.
MGX’s petrolithium mineral extraction technique leverages oil and gas assets, infrastructure and technology to create a new resource for cleantech minerals while also solving some of the biggest headaches facing the industry: the environmental impacts and regulatory/financial challenges surrounding wastewater handling and disposal.
Gasification of petcoke and other metals
Petcoke is a carbon material by-product of the oil and gas industry that forms during the oil refining process. As refineries have become more efficient at processing extra heavy crude oils (bitumen) over the last two decades, output of petcoke globally has risen significantly. Because petcoke originates from heavier petroleum fractions, it contains denser impurities with high concentrations of metals and sulfur compounds.
While concentrations of individual metals are low in raw petcoke, MGX’s engineering partner Highbury Energy Inc. is utilizing its advanced knowledge of the thermochemical gasification process and existing large-scale pilot plant experience to assist MGX in designing a process to generate hydrogen gas and concentrate metals in the form of ash byproduct.
The expanded research and development are focused on the reprocessing of petcoke waste product to a synthetic crude oil. The target specification is being designed to allow for reuse of petcoke into a primary input equivalent to crude oil that can be upgraded into petro-chemical products in a traditional refinery without any modification to existing equipment. The goal is to produce a fuel which can seamlessly integrate into existing refining and petrochemical manufacturing operations.
This represents a potential long-term use for the large existing stockpiles of petcoke as well as ongoing output of petcoke and other waste products without significant changes to the existing refinery infrastructure.