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  • Lithium Australia (LIT) subsidiary VSPC has completed stage 1 cathode-material testing with potential customers in China and Japan
  • Following a positive evaluation, the company has signed a letter of intent with DLG
  • VSPC has also received positive feedback from Japanese battery-cell producers and expects to enter the Japanese market in 2022
  • On market close, Lithium Australia remains steady and is trading $0.034 per share

Lithium Australia (LIT) subsidiary VSPC has completed stage 1 cathode-material testing with potential customers in China and Japan.

VSPC has developed advanced processes for manufacturing lithium-ion battery (LIB) cathode powders at its pilot plant facility in Brisbane, Queensland.

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) is a popular, cost-effective cathode material for lithium-ion cells that are known to deliver excellent safety and long life span. This makes it well suited for speciality battery applications requiring high load currents and endurance.

The cathode material is cobalt, nickel and manganese in the crystal structure forming a multi-metal oxide material to which lithium is added.

Lithium Australia says LFP is suited to the market for power storage when the energy density is less critical, as is the case with hybrid vehicles, e-buses and logistic trucks, as well as military and marine applications.

China

A leading China battery producer, DLG Battery Co, has evaluated VSPC’s LFP cathode material in March 2019 at DLG’s research and development facility in Shanghai, China.

The materials, assessed in a commercial 18650 battery-cell format, were tested under a range of electrochemical and temperature conditions and was also tested for the long-term cycle.

DLG was happy with the LFP material and met its standards to use LIB cells for power and energy.

Lithium Australia has signed a letter of intent with DLG and has created a 50:50 jointly owned business, Soluna Australia. The new business will supply and sell Soluna Battery packs and modules in Australia.

It will also form a technology alliance that will fast-track the commercialisation of VSPC’s cathode powder technology for the use in DLG’s batteries.

Currently, VSPC is creating a supply chain to deliver LFP to various LIB cell makers in China, including DLG. The company aims to have this up and running for 2021.

“This year has seen a significant shift in the Chinese battery markets, with greater demand for LFP for use in short-range electric vehicle and energy-storage applications,” Lithium Australia Managing Director Adrian Griffin said.

Japan

VSPC has also received positive feedback from Japanese battery-cell producers, which are evaluating its LFP products at laboratory scale.

The electrochemical performance of LFP material has met the Japanese requirements. Commercial sales of LFP into the Japanese market is anticipated for 2022.

The market for LFP is expected to grow strongly in the next 10 years, due to its particular suitability for energy storage and certain types of transport: this includes a replacement for lead-acid batteries in various automotive applications and as back-up for power supplies.

“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 LIBs,” Adrian said.

“We look forward to furthering our partnerships within the battery industry and, ultimately, supplying products that meet not only VSPC’s stringent quality specifications but those of its international customers,” he added.

On market close, Lithium Australia remains steady and is trading $0.034 per share.

LIT by the numbers
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