11/09/2020 - 14:00

Lithium Australia looks to patent battery recycling processes

11/09/2020 - 14:00

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Lithium Australia has moved to protect its battery recycling intellectual property by applying for two Australian patents for its recycling of battery materials processes, with lithium-ion batteries in its sights. It comes only days after the ACCC approved a spent-battery collection and recycling levy scheme aimed at significantly increasing the recycling of batteries and ending the wasteful practice of landfill disposal of batteries.

Credit: Aldi International

ASX-listed Lithium Australia has moved to protect its battery recycling intellectual property by applying for two Australian patents for its recycling of battery materials processes, with lithium-ion batteries in its sights.

The Perth-based company has filed one patent application relating to the process involved in the recovery of cathode materials such as mixed metal dust and electrolyte from spent LIBs, while the second application relates to the process for the selective extraction of battery metals such as a mixed cobalt-nickel sulphate.

According to Lithium Australia, these processes are ideal for the efficient recycling of end-of-life electric vehicle batteries to provide a sustainable supply of high-value chemicals back into what it describes as the circular battery economy.

The company’s patent applications comes only days after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission granted the  Battery Stewardship Council the authorisation to set up and manage a spent-battery collection and recycling levy scheme designed to significantly increase the recycling of batteries and end the wasteful practice of landfill disposal of batteries.

The planned battery stewardship scheme will be primarily funded via an annual levy to be imposed on all imported eligible batteries, with the charge passed on through the supply chain to consumers calculated on the weight of batteries imported.

Initially set at $0.04 per equivalent battery unit, or “EBU” and applying to companies that import more than 1,000 EBUs annually, Lithium Australia says it is estimated that the levy will raise about $22 million annually.

Funds generated from the levy scheme will be put into subsidising collection and recycling of batteries. The initiative has the potential to significantly boost the end-of-life battery “feed” for the Melbourne recycling facilities of Lithium Australia’s 90 per cent owned subsidiary Envirostream by striving to keep as many end-of-life batteries out of landfill as possible.

Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin said: Lithium Australia, through its recycling subsidiary Envirostream Australia, is a leader in the field of battery recycling technologies. With our recent successful capital raising (of $4.5 million), we’re in a strong position to accelerate commercialisation of the technologies. Indeed, the first of those has already been implemented on a commercial scale at our Melbourne processing plant.”

“These technical advances are timely, in that they coincide with the introduction of a national battery stewardship scheme designed to divert batteries from landfill, thereby increasing the quantities of spent batteries available for recycling.”

 

Is your ASX listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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