Lithium Australia NL’s (ASX:LIT) fully-owned subsidiary, VSPC Ltd, has successfully produced lithium-ion batteries (LIB) from tri-lithium phosphate produced directly from mine waste using LIT’s SiLeach process.
This ground-breaking process removes the requirement for generation of high-purity lithium hydroxide or carbonate which has long been one of the most cost-intensive and challenging steps in the manufacture of LIBs.
The tri-lithium phosphate was converted to lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cathode material at VSPC’s advanced electrochemical laboratory and pilot plant facility in Brisbane, Queensland.
The proprietary processes used to generate the LFP nanoparticles is covered by patents granted to VSPC.
LIBs were produced and tested under a range of charge and discharge conditions and the cells achieved equivalent performance to VSPC’s advanced cathode powders which use lithium carbonate as the manufacturing feed.
Importantly, battery performance compares very favourably against cells using standard VSPC cathode material produced with industry standard lithium carbonate.
The demonstrated ability to bypass lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide as battery precursors provide the potential to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing batteries.
Moreover, the use of mine waste in the battery production cycle can provide greater sustainability to global lithium resources.
LIT is also developing the process for the direct production of cathode powders from lithium brines, to not only eliminate the requirement to produce high-purity lithium hydroxide or carbonate but also to reduce the requirement for evaporation ponds.