Lithium Australia subsidiary, VSPC has secured an Australian patent in support of its proprietary process for producing phosphate-based battery cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries that it says can be achieved at a considerably reduced cost. VSPC has simplified its processing technology for the manufacturing of lithium metal phosphate battery cathode powders over the past two years, paving the way for the use of a wider range of raw materials as feedstock.
ASX-listed Lithium Australia’s wholly owned subsidiary, VSPC has secured an Australian patent in support of its proprietary process for producing phosphate-based battery cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries that it says can be achieved at a considerably reduced cost.
Perth-based Lithium Australia says VSPC has been simplifying its processing technology for the manufacturing of lithium metal phosphate battery cathode powders over the past two years, paving the way for the use of a wider range of raw materials as feedstock.
According to the company, this has led to the significant lowering of the cost of producing lithium ferro phosphate and other lithium metal phosphate materials including lithium manganese ferro phosphate, or “LMFP”.
Lithium Australia says VSPC’s processing technology allows flexibility in relation to the types of suitable lithium raw materials that can be used for feedstock with lithium phosphate, lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide now able to be used.
According to management, the patented process brings chemical input costs down by 15 per cent, which is seen as “considerable” given the chemicals typically account for more than two-thirds of the overall cost of battery cathode material manufacture.
Work done as part of a project co-funded by the Australian Manufacturing Growth Centre indicates the technology also integrates well with VSPC’s upstream technology for the low-cost production of iron reagents.
Lithium Australia says that chemical costs may even be further reduced by another 10 per cent when integrated with VSPC’s upstream technology.
It cites a recent Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan report that says demand for LFP is forecast to increase a whopping fivefold by 2030, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the lithium-ion battery market.
VSPC is in the process of putting together a preliminary feasibility study on LFP cathode powder production and the study is expected to be completed in the current quarter.
Currently only 2 per cent of global LFP cathode powder production occurs outside of China, despite jurisdictions of high demand being likely to include Europe, India and North America in the near future, Lithium Australia says.
VSPC has a research and development facility in Brisbane where it houses a pilot plant that includes battery-testing capabilities.
It has produced lithium manganese ferro phosphate battery cells, which Lithium Australia says are just as safe as standard LFP cells and by virtue of their higher voltage, provide greater energy.
Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin said: “Lithium Australia/VSPC can now provide practical solutions for electric vehicle manufacturers seeking cobalt-free batteries. Further, the company's recent development of LMFP demonstrates the potential for phosphate-based, nickel- and cobalt-free batteries to achieve high-energy densities, an ideal combination in terms of e-mobility applications. Patent protection will provide us with a significant cost advantage in the production cycle of what is currently the most rapidly expanding sector of the battery industry."
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