Lithium developer Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) is teaming up with a battery researcher to develop advanced anode materials that could potentially improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries.
The company today advised the market that terms in principle had been agreed between the parties, although the deal remains subject to the completion of formalities.
While the researcher’s identity has not yet been revealed, Lithium Australia said the agreement would give its company access to superior battery management systems and would involve a four-stage development and commercialisation program.
Lithium Australia plans to establish laboratory and testing facilities for the development of graphite/silicon anodes, utilising its recently recommissioned VSPC plant in Brisbane, Queensland.
The first stage of the development program will commence immediately with the establishment of these facilities.
According to Lithium Australia, previously tested prototypes of advanced anode materials have indicated the potential to “significantly increase” the energy density of lithium-ion batteries.
Using silicon to improve battery performance is not a new concept, although introducing it into the anode in the quantity needed to improve performance while also maintaining reliability and longevity has so far proved problematic.
Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin described the new partnership as “the perfect adjunct to our existing cathode technology [and] will target higher-performance products with a more sustainable production profile”.
“Successful implementation of higher-capacity anodes and better battery management systems will result in improved lithium-ion battery performance – we plan to be a leader in delivering that outcome,” Mr Griffin said.
Lithium Australia said the operations will commence under the terms of a memorandum of understanding, the details of which will be released once binding documents have been executed.
Lithium Australia recommissioned the VSPC plant (formerly the Very Small Particle Company Ltd) at the start of September, after it completed its acquisition of the organisation.
The facility comprises a comprehensive pilot plant and advanced laboratory and testing facilities, as well as proprietary technology to produce cathode materials, which are a lucrative element in the production of lithium-ion batteries.
Before the end of the September quarter, samples of this cathode material had been sent to battery manufacturers in China for commercial evaluation.
“Independent tests have already shown that VSPC cathode powders outperform industry benchmarks – a compelling reason for cell makers to use VSPC material,” Mr Griffin said.