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Lithium Australia granted key European patent for VSPC nano-powder production

The European Patent Office has granted the VSPC patent ‘Method for Producing Fine-Grained particles' for the manufacture of nano-structured oxides - which are used in fuel cells, supercapacitors, catalysts and battery materials.

Lithium Australia NL - Lithium Australia granted European patent for VSPC nano-powder production
VSPC’s pilot plant and R&D facility in Brisbane, Australia.

Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) (FRA:3MW) (OTCMKTS:LMMFF) subsidiary VSPC Ltd has been granted a patent by the European Patent Officer for its process of producing nanostructured metal-oxide products simply and efficiently.

VSPC’s technology manufactures nano-metal-oxides using surfactants and thermal processing to produce consistent nano-structured materials.

This now-patented process technology, which is scalable, is relevant to a wide range of advanced oxide materials and technological applications, including fuel cells, supercapacitors, catalysts and battery materials.

“Supplier of innovative technology”

Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said: “VSPC has been granted a European patent for the production of complex metal-oxide nanoparticles.

“A low-cost process, it accurately controls the chemical composition and distribution of the chemical elements within a predetermined crystal structure.

“The resulting products can be used in many applications, among them catalysts, solid-oxide fuel cells, superconductors and lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), to name but a few.

“This greatly enhances Lithium Australia’s arsenal of intellectual property and reinforces our position as a significant supplier of innovative technology to the battery industry.”

Advanced materials for batteries

VSPC’s process technology is relevant to several of battery materials, including metal-oxide cathode powders (lithium manganese oxide (LMO), lithium nickel manganese oxide (LMNO), lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC)), as well as phosphate-based cathode materials like lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) and lithium manganese ferro phosphate (LMFP).

Lithium titanate (LTO), which is used as an anode material in long-life lithium-ion batteries, can also be manufactured using the VSPC process.

The use of VSPC’s process paves the way for the production of other high-capacity lithium-rich metal-oxide cathode materials, such as lithium niobium manganese oxide, which may provide the key to greater safety, longevity and high energy-density in lithium-ion batteries.

Cathode powders produced using the VSPC process - the left image shows particle aggregates (scale bar: 10 microns) and the right image shows the individual particles (scale bar: 100 nanometres).

Looking forward

To date VSPC has achieved:

  • Manufacture of high-quality LFP cathode powders (Nov 27, 2019).
  • Improving the energy density of LFP via the addition of manganese (Dec 3, 2020).
  • Reducing the cost of LFP and LMFP cathode powders (Dec 16, 2020).

The company is completing a preliminary feasibility study for the production of LFP cathode material for a number of locations outside China.

Results of that study are due in the current quarter.

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