Australian Lithium Alliance, Battery Recycling, More: Jan 2022

January 20, 2022 | News and updates from around the battery industry this month include an Australian Lithium Alliance, a new lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Georgia, a joint development agreement to explore lithium battery manufacturing, and more. 

EV Metals Group launched the Australian Lithium Alliance, a strategic initiative to partner with Australian companies to accelerate exploration, development, mining, processing and production of lithium minerals. EVM launched the formation of the Australian Lithium Alliance with the release of details of an agreement in the form of an Earn-in Joint Venture and Lithium Rights Deed (Agreement) between EVM, ALA, Zenith Minerals Ltd (ZNC) and Black Dragon Energy (Aus) Pty Limited (BDE), a wholly subsidiary of ZNC. The strategic initiative will be implemented by Australian Lithium Alliance Pty Limited (ALA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of EVM, through joint ventures and off-take agreements as an alternative to Chinese companies that currently dominate the purchase of spodumene concentrate from Australia to supply chemicals processing companies in China. EVM is building a global battery chemicals and technology business with the development of the world’s first integrated Battery Chemicals Complex (BCC) at Yanbu Industrial City in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  It will produce high purity chemicals containing lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and other metals required for high energy density cathode active materials used in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.

ASI, Division of Thermal Technologies, a Green Bay, Wisconsin-based dryer supplier, has announced that an undisclosed solid-state lithium battery company has chosen ASI to provide the drying system for their new coating line. The four-zone drying system will provide electrically heated convection air and will allow the battery company to scale up operations. The multi-zone, roll support drying system will be over 80-feet long and will include an external retraction system to allow for easy access to the dryer’s interior for web up and cleaning. Variable frequency drives on the supply and exhaust fans, along with resistant temperature detectors near the heat source and in the supply air ducts, will allow for precise temperature and air flow control to the web. The dryer will be controlled via a distributed PLC system.

Albemarle Corporation and 6K have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to explore the use of 6K’s patented UniMelt advanced, sustainable materials production platform to develop novel lithium battery materials through potentially disruptive manufacturing processes. In addition to the JDA, Albemarle has made an undisclosed investment in 6K through Volta Energy Technologies. An existing financial investor in 6K, Volta is a venture capital firm launched in 2017 that also connects strategic investors like Albemarle with well-researched investment opportunities in the energy storage sector.

Freeman Technology, a Micromeritics company, has revealed new insight into which sectors are investing most heavily in powder testing, and by extension working particularly intensively on powder-related innovation. Rapid sales growth and repeat sales to major battery/car manufacturers represent a major shift in usage patterns and indicate that learning how to control and manipulate powder properties is critical for those targeting the highest levels of battery performance. The FT4 Powder Rheometer, Freeman Technology’s best-in-class solution for powder testing, provides multi-faceted powder characterization via the measurement of dynamic, shear, and bulk powder properties. The pharmaceutical industry was one of the earliest to recognize its potential and the instrument enjoys widespread use in formulation labs and on pharmaceutical manufacturing sites across the world

Toshiba Corporation has launched an innovative 20Ah-HP rechargeable lithium-ion battery cell that delivers high energy and high power at the same time. The cell is ideal for heavy-load applications where high power input and output are essential, and for situations where battery cells must suppress heat and operate continuously, such as rapid charging of commercial vehicles, regenerative power systems for rolling stock, and industrial equipment. The cell is the same size as Toshiba’s current 20Ah product, allowing current customers to easily upgrade to the improved input and output power with the same module pack. The cell is now available to order worldwide.

Battery Resourcers plans to open a commercial-scale, lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Covington, Ga. When the 154,000-square-foot facility is fully operational in August 2022, it will be North America’s largest battery recycling facility with capacity to process 30,000 metric tons of discarded lithium-ion batteries and scrap per year — returning battery grade lithium, cobalt and nickel back into the battery supply chain. As demand for electric vehicles (EVs) increases, industry analysts and the federal government agree the United States needs to build a sustainable battery recycling infrastructure. The opening of this facility will help meet that demand. Battery Resourcers is investing $43 million in the facility at 9172 Industrial Drive in Covington, which will bring at least 150 jobs to the community. The site is strategically located near several EV manufacturing hubs and lithium-ion gigafactories.