LithiumAus drives down battery cathode costs


James Riley
Editorial Director

Lithium materials company Lithium Australia has demonstrated cost savings of between 20 and 30 per cent in chemical and reagent costs used to produce lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO) battery cathodes.

The company, which is developing lithium mines, processing technologies, component manufacturing and battery recycling, demonstrated the savings at its subsidiary, VSPC Ltd’s Brisbane pilot plant.

Lithium batteries
Lithium future: Production processes driving cost reductions

The project, partly funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, is proving the technical feasibility of the company’s reduced cost processes and the production of LFP from lower cost raw materials such as iron sulphate, iron oxides and the company’s internal sources.

These sources come from:

  • The company’s LieNa process for extraction of lithium from difficult hard rock resources – essentially today’s mine wastes
  • The company’s patented SiLeach process hydrometalurgical process for processing lithium and other metals from silicate ores
  • And mixed metal dusts derived from spent lithium-ion batteries in a recycling process operated by Lithium subsidiary, Envirostream Australia.

Lithium Australia has now completed the second phase of its project, demonstrating reduced reagent and chemical costs.

The final product demonstrated excellent electrochemical performance, according to the company.

The company told investors: “These results further support the cost-competitiveness of the VSPC reduced cost process, as well as its flexibility in terms of application to several lithium raw materials, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide and LP (lithium phosphate”.

Stage three of the project has begun and involves further studies and preparation for future work at pilot-plant scale.

“Using easily available and lower-cost base reagents in the manufacture of LFP can have a profound impact on the price of production. It is imperative that VSPC maximises its competitive advantages in terms of both reagent inputs and physical manufacturing costs,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said.

This story first appeared on the @AuManufacturing site. You can subscribe to the @AuManufacturing newsletter here.

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