Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) claims lithium ferro-phosphate batteries should be the prime choice when looking at energy storage options for numerous reasons including the fact they can be made from waste ore, spent batteries and they eliminate the need for other minerals such as nickel and cobalt.
Additionally, lithium ferro-phosphate batteries have attributes that make them “ideal” for energy storage.
Benefits include deep discharge, high recharge rates and power delivery, long service life, lower cost, no thermal runaway, and safety.
They can also operate without battery management systems, within a high temperature range and can be used in transport and energy storage applications.
Supply chain security using waste
According to Lithium Australia, its proprietary technologies SiLeach, LieNA, Envirostream and VSPC are used to produce lithium ferro-phosphate batteries from mine waste and recycled batteries.
The company pointed out that the lithium ferro-phosphate chemistry also eliminates the current reliance on cobalt which is shrouded in child labour, military conflict and other social responsibility issues due to 60% of the world’s supply arising out of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The lithium ferro-phosphate chemistry also takes away the need for nickel which is facing huge supply shortages in the near term due to minimal investment in mines and exploration over the last decade.
By eliminating nickel and cobalt from the battery chemistry, Lithium Australia said it boosts energy and supply chain security.
Minimising environmental footprint
By developing batteries using mine waste and spent batteries as the original feed source, Lithium Australia has achieved its goal of having a minimal environmental footprint in creating clean energy.
“Minimising the environmental impact requires a holistic approach starting with exploration, resource assessment, mining, mineral processing, battery manufacture and end-of-life recycling to optimise the sustainability of the energy storage system sector,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin told delegates at the recent WA Clean Energy Forum.
“The lithium industry is characterised by very poor extraction efficiencies. In some cases, these are less than 50%. At present the efficiencies are low due to the inability to provide an appropriate interface between mining/concentration and downstream processing.”
Mr Griffin pointed out Lithium Australia has developed its technologies to improve resource sustainability in the lithium-ion battery while reducing costs and carbon footprints.
“To-date, Lithium Australia is the only company that has successfully generated battery cathodes and lithium-ion batteries form mine waste.”
“Similarly, Lithium Australia has used spent batteries as a feed source for the rebirthing of battery cathodes,” Mr Griffin added.