Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has powered ahead with another milestone in its aim to recycle spent lithium-ion batteries, with the company revealing this morning its subsidiary VSPC had successfully made a “high quality cathode material” and tested it in new coin cell lithium-ion batteries.
Last month, Lithium Australia reported it had used its proprietary technology to generate a 99% pure lithium phosphate from spent batteries its partner Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd had collected, shredded and separated and converted into a mixed metal dust.
The lithium phosphate development process was completed in conjunction with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, with the lithium phosphate then shipped to the VSPC pilot plant in Brisbane.
At the pilot plant, VSPC used its proprietary nanotechnology to create a lithium-ferro-phosphate cathode material from the lithium phosphate.
In the final step, using the cathode material, VSPC was then able to create 2032 coin cell lithium-ion batteries. The batteries were electrochemically tested and exceeded VSPC’s own internal standards.
Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said the achievement represented a genuine renewable pathway for the battery industry.
“Recycling of this type meets the ethical, social and governance standards that the community expects.”
“It also strengthens our capacity to deal with climate change by improving resource sustainability and reducing the environmental footprint of portable power,” Mr Griffin added.
Lithium Australia’s next step will be to blend the cathode material made from recycled batteries with a newly created lithium-ferro-phosphate.
This blend will then be used as the cathode material in larger, commercial-format (18650) battery cells.
These commercial cells will then be evaluated for performance.
As part of its battery recycling strategy, Lithium Australia is in discussions with Chinese manufacturers to establish a supply chain for its lithium-ferro-phosphate cathode material made from spent batteries.
Lithium Australia anticipates the entire production cycle of creating new lithium-ion batteries from recycled battery material is potentially more efficient and lower cost than current processes.
“Growth projections for such material are strong, given its suitability for applications such as the replacement of automotive lead-acid batteries and for large-scale energy storage, including the provision of back-up power supplies for 5G communications stations,” the company noted.
This morning’s news pushed Lithium Australia’s share price up 2% to $0.046.