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DGMK-Project Petroleum Engineering

Chances for Lithium from Reservoir Waters - Germany & Austria as Production Location

01.07.2023 - 31.08.2024
Research Center
Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, Institute of Thermal Process Engineering, Environmental and Natural Materials Process Engineering
Project Accompaniment
VERMILION Energy Germany GmbH & Co. KG, Hanover
OMV Exploration & Production, Vienna
Reason and Goal

In the first phase of the project, comprehensive data compilation and evaluation will be carried out according to process engineering and economic aspects. A field test of an economical lithium extraction is planned for phase 2 - 3.


Lithium as an economic factor:

The current trend in lithium carbonate price development has stabilized at an extremely high level after the massive hype in 2018 and the downturn in 2020.
Can lithium extraction in Germany be economically viable through separation from reservoir waters while reducing dependence on external sources?
The economic viability of alternative extraction is linked to the price development, which is determined by the exporting nations and demand. Global lithium production is mainly concentrated in three countries: Australia, Chile and Argentina. Initially, this does not appear to be very problematic from a geopolitical point of view. Thus, the parameter "demand" is dominant for the price development.

Extraction from geothermal, gas and oil deposits:

Worldwide, the number of existing implementations for the use of named sources with ionogenic ingredients is increasing. Mostly it is a mixture of standard ions and strategic elements. The challenge here is the selective extraction of the valuable elements while taking into account the scaling characteristics of the accompanying elements. However, crucial to the issue raised is first the content of lithium salts in the aqueous phase.

A wide variety of physicochemical approaches are available as separation methods, which must be adapted according to the characteristics of the fluid material flows.


An overview of possible methods for the extraction of lithium was compiled.

Project Status

Project Coordinator

Dr. Susanne Kuchling

Head of the Geo-Energy-Systems and Subsurface Technologies Department

Helen Werner

Scientific Officer of the Department of Geo-Energy Systems and Underground Technologies


OMV Exploration & Production GmbH

Vermilion Energy Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG