Battery chemical technology company Lithium Australia’s (ASX: LIT) patent applications have progressed with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organisation publishing two of the company’s applications regarding its processes for recovering lithium phosphate from lithium-bearing silicates and solutions.
According to Lithium Australia, publication of the patent applications is a “significant” fourth step in the seven-step process for locking-in granted patents, which can take several years to achieve.
Once granted, Lithium Australia’s IP will have legal protection in international jurisdictions.
“The company has succeeded in developing technologies that improve the sustainability of, and reduce the environmental impacts associated with, the manufacture, use and disposal of lithium-ion batteries,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin explained.
“Importantly, these technologies can facilitate vertical integration within the battery supply chain, potentially reducing the number of process steps involved and lowering costs for consumers.”
“The ability to integrate metal recovery from lithium-ion batteries and regenerate cathode materials represents a major advance for the battery industry as a whole,” Mr Griffin added.
SiLeach® and LieNA® technologies
Lithium Australia’s proprietary technologies include SiLeach® and LieNA®, which are ultimately used to generate lithium cathode materials from feedstock generally deemed as waste.
The lithium phosphate generated from the SiLeach® process meets specifications to be further refined into a lithium-ferro-phosphate, which is then used to develop cathode material for incorporation in lithium batteries for energy storage and transport applications.
Meanwhile, Lithium Australia’s LieNA® technology enables the production of lithium concentrates from fine spodumene material that is often discharged as waste during traditional concentration processes.
The process doesn’t use conventional high-temperature methods and isn’t constrained by particle size.
Another advantage to LieNA® is it enables lithium chemicals such as lithium phosphate, hydroxide, sulphate or chloride to be produced from a single refinery.
Mr Griffin said this provides greater sustainability and affords the company a direct feed for its lithium-ferro-phosphate cathode materials.
Lithium Australia’s patent applications include its technology for recovering lithium phosphate and lithium sulphate from a lithium-bearing solution such as brine or pregnant process liquor.
This unit process also has a direct application to LieNA®.
The applications also include an enhancement to Lithium Australia’s SiLeach® technology, which generates lithium phosphate from lithium-bearing silicates following fluoride-accelerated acid leach treatment.
At market open, Lithium Australia’s share price was steady at $0.062.