Hertz Lithium, a British Columbia-based mineral exploration company, has signed a lithium extraction technology licence agreement with the Penn State Research Foundation (PSRF).

This agreement grants Hertz Lithium an exclusive licence to a patent-pending process for extracting lithium from alpha-spodumene.

The licensed technology presents a process that could revolutionise the extraction of lithium, a metal essential for powering next-generation technologies such as energy storage systems, electric vehicles and cordless devices, according to the company.

With this agreement, Hertz Lithium now holds the right to sublicence the licences to third parties, potentially expanding the reach of the technology.

The process involves a novel method of converting alpha-spodumene into a soluble phase using sodium hydroxide and either conventional or microwave roasting, followed by water leaching that can recover up to 95% of the water-soluble lithium.

The company claims that its technology has the potential to address the current challenges in lithium extraction from hard rock ores, such as the energy-intensive and environmentally taxing high-temperature roasting that has been a major economic bottleneck.

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By GlobalData

The agreement with PSRF also includes a royalty-bearing, non-exclusive licence to certain know-how necessary to derive the benefits of the patent rights.

This strategic move by Hertz Lithium positions the company to potentially lead in the efficient and sustainable production of lithium as the industry seeks to keep pace with the rapidly increasing demand.

Hertz Lithium director and CEO Kal Malhi said: “We are excited to have executed the licence agreement with Penn State University and further solidify our partnership.

“Owning the worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialise this patent-pending extraction process is a major differentiator for us in the junior exploration industry.

“We are in discussions with commercial lithium extraction experts to join our team and begin the next phase of development following the current optimisation phase and we look forward to providing updates in the months ahead.”