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Lithium Americas Corp. awards licensing technology for a 3,000-tpd sulfuric acid plant

MECS, Inc. (MECS), a subsidiary of Elessent Clean Technologies (Elessent), was contracted for the provision of an MECS® sulfuric acid plant by Lithium Americas Corp. (LAC). The new 3,000-tpd sulfuric acid plant will feature MECS® HRS™ technology to harness waste heat for steam generation which will be converted to carbon free energy. The new plant will be located at Lithium Americas’ Thacker Pass operation which is the largest lithium carbonate processing plant in North America and is fully permitted for construction.

The State of Nevada has become a critical supplier of lithium within the U.S. as the nation’s leaders make plans to reduce reliance on imported lithium. As the pivot away from fossil fuels becomes increasingly urgent, consumers are buying more electric vehicles (EV) to support the energy transition which requires lithium, and other raw materials like nickel and cobalt, for the production of EV batteries. The MECS® sulfuric acid technology provides sulfuric acid for the processing of battery raw materials while ensuring the most stringent control of site emissions.

Another measure to reduce environmental impact includes the use of MECS® HRS™ technology in the sulfuric acid plant which will play a key role in decarbonization of the region. When combined with more traditional means of energy recovery within sulfuric acid plants, HRS™ enables a plant to utilize up to 95% of the process heat it generates internally as steam, which can be converted to electricity that is either employed to power the facility or sold to a neighboring industrial complex or the local power grid. Consequently, through the production of both high-pressure and intermediate-pressure steam, an MECS® sulfuric acid plant featuring HRS™ technology can prevent up to the equivalent of 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the course of a year for each ton per day of acid that is produced by the plant.

EXP has been awarded the contract for design, engineering, and supply of equipment and materials for the sulfuric acid plant. EXP is a global leader in oil, gas and chemicals and will work seamlessly with MECS to further the Thacker Pass operation.

The MECS® sulfuric acid technology has been in use for nearly a century in the phosphate fertilizer, nonferrous metals (leaching & smelting), oil refining and general chemical industries. MECS® technologies feature breakthrough solutions, many of which have revolutionized the performance, quality and cost effectiveness of customer operations. They include MECS® heat recovery systems (HRS™), MECS® SolvR® regenerative SO₂ scrubbing and MECS® MAX3™ sulfuric acid production technology. Integrated into these MECS® technologies are proven specialty products such as catalysts, Brink® mist eliminators, DynaWave® scrubbers, ZeCor® corrosion resistant alloy products, and acid coolers all of which are specifically designed for the most demanding operating environments. Licensed and marketed by Elessent Clean Technologies, the MECS® technology is the world-leading sulfuric acid production technology with more than 400 licensed acid plants worldwide since the 1960’s. Elessent Technologies is committed to long-term customer satisfaction and support for the life of customer asset.

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