- Lithium Australia has established potential for a new supply stream in recycled battery products
- With this new development, Lithium believes it will facilitate LIB sustainability and avoid batteries being sent to landfill
- The company will pave the way for the re-birthing of battery materials
- It will also provide an ethical source of battery material such as cobalt
Lithium Australia has established potential for a new supply stream in recycled battery products.
Together with Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisations (ANSTO), Lithium has successfully developed processes to recover metals from spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs).
Lithium aims to produce a high-purity lithium phosphate (LP) as the main production of cathode materials. The company will do this by using its proprietary LP refining process.
With its new development Lithium was able to generate LP of 99.9 per cent purity, with lithium recoveries exceeding 85 per cent.
It also confirmed the potential to develop a nickel/cobalt concentrate as an alternative feed source for conventional refining.
Nickel and cobalt recoveries are estimated at 90 per cent, with internal modelling revealing a concentrate suitable as feed for conventional processing.
With this new development, Lithium believes it will facilitate LIB sustainability, avoid batteries being sent to landfill, pave the way for the re-birthing of battery materials and provide an ethical source of battery material such as cobalt.
During the trial, Lithium Australia’s partner Envirostream Australia collected, shredded and separated spent batteries to create a mixed metal dust.
ANSTO then processed the dust to recover lithium phosphate, which was further refined using proprietary technology.
Managing Director Adrian Griffin is pleased with the results from his team.
“Successfully recovering a precursor of such high purity for the production of new LIBs from material otherwise destined for landfill is a huge step forward for the battery industry,” he said.
“Lithium Australia, together with its partner Envirostream Australia, is
investigating the commercial potential of this breakthrough.”
The company has the ability to create a closed battery production cycle by generating cathode active battery materials from waste battery materials.
Developing a local industry to recover battery metals will pave the way for more
sustainable use and disposal of LIBs. Such recycling will promote the delivery of ethically sourced battery materials such as cobalt.
“Right now we’re in discussion with consumers of lithium, nickel and cobalt – both within Australia and overseas – and we see huge potential for a local battery recycling industry,” Adrian said.
The company plans to sell the nickel and cobalt recovered.