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lithium

Battery-grade lithium hydroxide produced from zero carbon lithium project pilot

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 15:52 -- paul Crompton

Zero carbon lithium producer Vulcan Energy Resources has produced its first battery quality lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) from its piloting operations.

The Australian firm’s chemical engineering team produced the material from Vulcan’s sorption pilot plant, located at a geothermal renewable energy plant in the Upper Rhine Valley in Germany.

The battery grade LHM sample is at >56.5% LiOH.H2O and very low impurities, claim the firm.

The lithium chloride extracted by the sorbent in the pilot plant was recovered with water and sent offsite, where it was purified and concentrated by a third-party provider to prepare the lithium chloride for electrolysis to produce lithium hydroxide solution. 

The solution was then crystalised to produce battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM). 

Further production of battery quality material will continue to ramp up to supply Vulcan’s offtake partners with samples. 

Vulcan is targeting Phase 1 commercial production for 2024. 

Vulcan’s pilot has been operating successfully since April using brine from a geothermal plant, and will be progressively scaled up in size during the coming year. 

Image: Horst Kreuter (left), managing director Germany, and Francis Wedin CEO of Vulcan Energie. (Source: Artis/ Uli Deck)

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Chinese firm plans to build out 160,000tpa of lithium-ion materials capability by 2024

Wed, 10/06/2021 - 09:56 -- paul Crompton

China-based cathode research and development firm XTC New Energy Materials is planning to invest at least $1.55 billion (CNY10 billion) in a lithium battery materials project in Sichuan province.

The project includes a plant to manufacture 100,000tpa of lithium iron phosphate and 60,000tpa of ternary materials, according to news outlet Reuters.

A letter of intent has been signed by XTC and Yaan Economic and Technological Development Zone in Sichuan, south-west China, according to reports.

The company is principally engaged in the research and development, production and sales of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries; with its main products being lithium cobalt oxide and nickel-cobalt-manganese ternary materials, including nickel, cobalt and manganese.

The plant is due to be built in stages, with Phase I having 20,000tpa manufacturing capacity for lithium iron phosphate and 20,000tpa for ternary materials.

The lithium iron phosphate component of the project is due to be commissioned in 2023 at an estimated cost of $190 million (CNY1.2 billion), 

The ternary materials component is expected to cost $340 million (CNY2.2 billion), and is scheduled for commissioning in 2024.

The project will also include a 10,000tpa nickel and cobalt smelter for battery recycling. 

XTC, a unit of metals and rare earths producer Xiamen Tungsten, is due to submit a feasibility study to its board and plans to fund the project from bank loans.

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Hybrid lithium-VRFB system developed for power management applications

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 10:50 -- paul Crompton

Vanadium product recycler AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group has built its first lithium-vanadium hybrid battery for industrial power management applications. 

AMG’s hybrid lithium-vanadium redox flow battery (LIVA) uses the lithium battery for fast discharging including black start; the vanadium battery, which is charged by the grid, is used to recharge the lithium battery.

The first LIVA system will be installed in one of AMG’s German manufacturing plants and is scheduled to go online in the first quarter of next year. 

Engineering has started for three more systems, two in Germany and one in the US. 

AMG Engineering is building the integrated system, with its subsidiaries AMG Titanium & Coatings supplying the vanadium electrolyte, and AMG Lithium designing the lithium portion of the battery. 

AI technology acquisition

To solve the need for an advanced software solution is essential, AMG bought German firm Phyr7, which specialises in artificial intelligence-based power-management solutions. 

Phyr7 will be renamed LIVA Power Management Systems and be established with an initial capitalisation of €5 million ($6 million).  

The Phyr 7 software ecosystem maximises the efficiency, safety and lifetime of the batteries, and enables the economic integration of sector coupling strategies with renewable energies and green hydrogen.

Dr. Volker Koelln (pictured), founder of Phyr7, will be the CEO of LIVA Power Management Systems, and Holger Mueller-Rink will be its CFO, holding the same position at AMG Lithium. 

Dr. Stefan Scherer chairs the company’s Supervisory Board.

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Hybrid lead-acid and lithium-ion ESS to power GS Yuasa’s UK battery plant

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 11:00 -- paul Crompton
ADEPT Hybrid lead-acid and lithium-ion ESS to power GS Yuasa’s UK battery plant

Renewable power developer Infinite has launched a project that combines wind turbines and solar photovoltaic with a hybrid lead-acid and lithium energy storage system.

The project began with the installation of a 1MWh rooftop solar system at Japanese-headquartered GS Yuasa’s factory in south Wales where the lead-acid battery is made. 

An assembly line is due to be installed at the Welsh manufacturing site to produce lithium-ion battery modules.

The Energy Centre project will link renewables with GS Yuasa’s ADEPT ESS that was developed alongside the University of Sheffield and Innovate UK.

GS Yuasa’s ADEPT ESS that was developed alongside the University of Sheffield and Innovate.

Shaun Gardner, managing director, GS Yuasa Manufacturing UK, said the unique combination of lithium and lead-acid batteries allowed for the storage of energy generated by either solar or wind to be used at a later date.

Last August, GS Yuasa delivered a 100kW hybrid system to Portsmouth International Port as part of the Port Energy Systems Optimisation (PESO) project. 

The battery system will be used to charge electric cars and peak shifting services as the port demonstrates how it can operate as a smart energy network.

GS Yuasa has received 2.5 million ($3.4 million) in funding from the Welsh Government to help it increase production of its batteries, which include valve regulated lead-acid.

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Firms announce collaboration to develop US battery-grade lithium supply chain

Mon, 06/21/2021 - 08:15 -- paul Crompton
Firms announce collaboration to develop US battery-grade lithium supply chain

Energy technology firm Schlumberger New Energy and Panasonic Energy of North America, a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, have entered into a collaboration agreement to mine lithium in the US.

The agreement covers the validation and optimisation of a lithium extraction and production process used by Schlumberger New Energy at its NeoLith Energy pilot plant in Nevada. 

Panasonic will provide its guidance to validate and optimise the lithium material for battery-grade consumption. 

NeoLith uses a differentiated direct lithium extraction (DLE) process to produce high-purity, battery-grade lithium material while reducing the production time to a few weeks. 

The pilot plant is located 200 miles from Panasonic’s large-scale advanced battery manufacturing operation in Sparks, Nevada.

NeoLith objective will be to pump brine from the subsurface, extract more than 90% of the dissolved lithium, and pump more than 85% of the brine back to the subsurface in an environmentally safe manner. 

In addition to maximising the reinjection of the brine, the ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for any fresh water from an external source and reduce the environmental impact.

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EPA grants permission for Australia 45,000 tpy lithium battery grade material refinery

Wed, 06/09/2021 - 10:24 -- paul Crompton
EPA grants permission for Australia 45,000 tpy lithium battery grade material refinery

A proposal to construct and operate a refinery to manufacture battery grade lithium hydroxide has been given the go ahead by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The 45,000 tonnes per annum Kwinana refinery, part of the Mt Holland project, has been recommended for environmental approval subject to strict conditions relating to greenhouse gas emissions and waste management.

Covalent Lithium aims to process spodumene ore concentrate to produce battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate, primarily for use in lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries.

Covalent Lithium is a joint venture between Australia’s Wesfarmers and South America’s Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM) 

The spodumene ore concentrate will be sourced from the Mt Holland Mine, also known as the Earl Grey Lithium Project.

EPA chair Matthew Tonts said Covalent had identified several measures which would mitigate greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the project, including the use of efficient design and equipment technologies and the purchase of carbon offsets.

The EPA’s 2020 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Guideline requires a proposal exceeding 100,000 tonnes of scope 1 emissions each year to demonstrate its contribution towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050, in line with both the Paris Agreement and the IPCC’s 1.5 report.

The decision opens the doors to finalise the full funding of the project— Wesfarmers’ share of capital expenditure for the development of the project is estimated at AUS$950 million ($735 million). 

Following receipt of all relevant approvals, construction of the mine, concentrator and refinery are expected to begin in H1 next year.

The first production of lithium hydroxide is expected in the second half of 2024. 

An updated definitive feasibility study includes increased flexibility to provide for a second phase of the project to expand production capacity at Mt Holland and the Kwinana refinery. 

Preliminary work to evaluate expansion options will commence in parallel with the construction of the first phase of the project.

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Recycler signs deal to produce black mass from used lithium-ion e-bus batteries

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 08:56 -- paul Crompton

Lithium-ion battery recycling company Li-Cycle Corp has completed its battery recycling pilot plant where the Canadian produced black mass— a mixture of lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper— from used lithium-ion batteries.

The Canadian firm received 45 end-of-life lithium-ion battery modules from e-busses totalling 3,200 pounds from New Flyer Industries Canada and New Flyer of America— subsidiaries of bus manufacturer NFI Group— in Q4 of 2020.

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Solid-state lithium-ion battery developer appoints head of marketing

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 11:46 -- paul Crompton

Solid-state lithium-ion battery developer QuantumScape has named Asim Hussain as its chief marketing officer.

The former VP of commercial strategy at hydrogen and fuel cell energy storage firm Bloom Energy will now head up marketing at QuantumScape, which merged with special purchase acquisition company (SPAC) Kensington Capital Acquisition in September at an enterprise value of $3.3 billion.

QuantumScape, which is backed by Bill Gates and Volkswagen, claims its lithium-metal battery has an energy density exceeding 400Wh/kg.

Hussain said on his LinkedIn page: “I joined Bloom to work to bring solid oxide fuel cells to the market and the world. For my next adventure, I am continuing the solid-state breakthrough energy technology theme. 

“I begin my new role at QuantumScape, a company with a revolutionary solid-state lithium-metal battery technology that will transform the energy storage landscape, starting with making EVs accessible, affordable, and safe for the mass market.”

India firm commissions 100MW lithium-ion battery

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 16:06 -- paul Crompton

Energy storage maker Inverted Energy has commissioned its new 100MWh lithium battery manufacturing plant in Delhi, India. 

The manufacturing capacity of the plant in Okhla Industrial Area is expected to increase in the coming months, say the India firm.

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Scientists use algorithm to identify potential solid electrolyte materials for lithium-ion batteries

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 12:49 -- paul Crompton

Theoretical scientists at Stanford University have identified a new class of materials that could lead to the development of more efficient solid-state lithium-ion batteries.

The materials—lithium, boron and sulfur— were identified after the team used a computer algorithm to screen more than 12,000 lithium-containing compounds in a materials database. 

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