First place T2CM – Albemarle awards winning solutions from its first open innovation call

  • The Go Circular: The new era of Lithium initiative, organized with the support of Expande de Fundación Chile, sought to identify the best technological development capabilities and solutions that allow valorization, generation of new uses and/or applications for byproducts generated in the production process of the company.
  • T2CM, from the Catholic University of Chile and TRESIN were the winners, who will receive US$150 thousand and US$50 thousand, respectively subject to the development of their solution, together with Albemarle, to advance the technological maturity (TRL) of their proposals.

In San Pedro de Atacama and within the framework of the “Circular Fest”, an innovation festival where companies, government, academia and the community come together to advance towards a sustainable society, Albemarle and Expande de Fundación Chile announced the winning projects of “Go Circular: The new era of Lithium”.

Through this call, the company, one of the largest lithium producers in the world, sought to identify and evaluate technological solutions that have the potential to develop new markets for the uses and applications of the byproducts generated in its production processes.

The process, which lasted nearly six months, received more than 40 applications from three countries (Chile, the United States and Australia), from which 10 finalists and two winners were selected.

This is Tailings to Construction Materials, T2CM of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, which obtained first place with a solution that could use up to 55 thousand tons of recarb (calcium carbonate cake) annually. This recarb will be used as an input in the following construction products: replacement of cement for construction, artificial aggregate, various geopolymers and as an alternative binder.

TRESIN won second place in the contest. The company proposes to use bischofite and halite salts in recovery processes of copper, gold, silver, palladium and other minerals of interest from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). When its solution is developed, it could consume more than 150 thousand tons of bischofite and halite per year.

For Ignacio Mehech, VP of External Affairs LATAM and Country Manager of Albemarle Chile, “this call marks a milestone and reflects the way in which at Albemarle we do things, through collaboration and innovation. We are happy to culminate the “Go Circular” contest in San Pedro de Atacama, in the middle of a first-class event like CircularFest. The call was very successful and we were able to reward two initiatives of great value that encourage us to continue working for sustainability. We hope that this is the beginning of more challenges and joint work with researchers, students and institutions that want to be protagonists of the New Lithium Era.”

Along these same lines, the general manager of Fundación Chile, Hernán Araneda, added that “the opportunities and challenges that the country has to respond to the consequences of climate change depend, to a large extent, on the key role that large industries can assume. as the engine and drivers of a transformative and impactful climate agenda. Today Albemarle wants to be the protagonist of this change by making the circular economy a key driver of its business and in close collaboration with the ecosystem. From Fundación Chile we are very happy with the results of the call and we hope to continue accompanying the company in the development of the new era of lithium.”

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