Lithium Australia’s (ASX: LIT) wholly-owned subsidiary VSPC has confirmed that battery cells produced using its proprietary battery recycling and waste conversion technology have achieved equivalent or greater capacities than the best lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) cathode materials on the market.
Earlier this month, the company revealed VSPC was evaluating low-cost raw material options for the manufacture of LFP cathode material using its reduced cost process. These materials include lithium recovered from mine waste and spent lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium Australia today said testing of battery cells produced using VSPC’s technology had achieved capacities of up to 161 milliampere hours per gram at a 0.1C discharge rate.
According to the company, this rate exceeds the capacity specifications of commercial battery cell manufacturers, which is generally 158 mAh/g.
In addition, all of the LFP produced by VSPC from the low-cost feed options “demonstrated physical properties that facilitated efficient cathode production as well as good retention of capacity at higher discharge rates”, Lithium Australia reported.
Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said the results showed the potential for Australia, and Western Australia in particular, to become more competitive in terms of battery production.
“The availability of low-cost reagents for battery production varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction,” he added.
Cost savings and sustainability
Lithium Australia said VSPC’s “uniformly excellent” results confirm the flexibility of its process for creating high-quality cathode material from lithium phosphate recovered from mine waste and recycled lithium-ion batteries.
“The ability to extract and refine lithium from such low-cost sources for use in battery manufacture could lead to significant savings and greater sustainability for the relevant manufacturing and mining industries,” the company stated.
Along with evaluating low-cost lithium and phosphorous sources in the creation of cathode materials, VSPC is also investigating alternatives for iron reagents.
“The use of recycled materials can improve sustainability, reduce the industry’s reliance on conflict metals and help protect fragile ecosystems from the impacts of mining,” Mr Griffin said.
“We’re aiming for more ethical and environmentally acceptable outcomes for the battery industry as a whole,” he added.
According to Lithium Australia, VSPC is continuing to liaise with battery cell manufacturers in China and Japan and is “progressing to the next stage of product qualification” with further samples sent for evaluation in larger scale cells.