Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has announced that a lithium-ferro-phosphate (LFP) cathode material developed by its subsidiary VSPC has met specifications for power and energy cells with potential customers in China and Japan.
Evaluation of the Gen 4 cathode commenced in March at a research and development facility owned by Chinese battery producer DLG Power Battery (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
The material was assessed in a commercial 18650 battery-cell format under a range of electrochemical and temperature conditions, and subjected to long-term cycle testing.
Test outcomes met DLG’s stringent specifications for use in lithium-ion battery cells for power and energy applications.
Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said DLG’s approval was an important precursor to the company agreeing to purchase VSPC’s LFP battery cathode product for use in its batteries.
“The test results from battery producers in China and Japan show clearly that the performance of VSPC cathode powders is comparable to other materials currently supplied for the production of LFP lithium-ion batteries,” he said.
“We look forward to furthering our partnerships within the battery industry and supplying products that meet the stringent quality specifications [of our] international customers.”
In May, Lithium Australia signed a letter of intent with DLG for the incorporation of a 50:50 joint venture business known as Soluna Australia Pty Ltd to supply and sell Soluna battery packs and modules in Australia.
VSPC is now working to establish a supply chain for delivery of LFP to Chinese battery manufacturers in 2021.
Target applications include lithium-ion battery cells for energy storage and large transport vehicles.
VSPC has also received positive feedback from Japanese battery-cell producers during the evaluation of its LFP-based products at laboratory scale.
The electrochemical performance of LFP material has met Japanese requirements and VSPC is now working to refine product properties for specific applications and prepare for larger-scale testing in the new year.
Commercial sales of VSPC’s LFP material into the Japanese market are targeted for 2022.
The market for LFP material is expected to grow strongly over the next decade, due to its suitability for energy storage and transportation, including as a replacement for lead-acid batteries in automotive applications and as back-up for power supplies.
Its advantages include deep discharge and high recharge rates, high power delivery, long design life, wide operating temperature range and a lower cost compared to traditional battery materials.
LFP is claimed to be ideally suited to power storage applications when energy density is less critical, as is the case with hybrid vehicles, e-buses and logistic trucks, as well as military and marine applications.
At mid-afternoon, shares in Lithium Australia were steady at $0.034.