Battery materials firm Lithium Australia is to test the performance capabilities of coin cell cathodes using recycled lithium phosphate (LP) after recovering the material from old lithium-ion batteries for the first time.
The material, recovered from mixed metal dust, will be made into lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cathode powder at the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary VSPC’s cathode powder pilot plant, in Brisbane, Australia.
That LP material was manufactured using the firm’s proprietary LP precipitation and refining technology, developed in collaboration with Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
It is the first time the companies have produced a batch of the material from recycled batteries.
The dust, a by-product of shredding batteries, was supplied by the Perth firm’s partly-owned company Envirostream Australia, which shreds lithium-ion batteries and separates the components for reuse.
Lithium Australia mainly recovers lithium from the dust, but also recuperates cobalt, nickel and copper, of which the first two materials are suitable for commercial refining.
Adrian Griffin, managing director at Lithium Australia, said: “Few recycling operations around the world can recover lithium from batteries. Our process has the potential to not only improve the sustainability of lithium-ion batteries but also ease future supply constraints that may prove problematic to the industry.
“The company’s ability to employ LP in the direct generation of LFP is a significant technical achievement, one that reduces the number of process steps required to manufacture the cathode powder.”