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Lithium Australia tests high-capacity LMFP cathode powder

Lithium Australia

Lithium Australia subsidiary VSPC, a developer of advanced cathode powders for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), has developed a high-capacity cathode powder which is cheaper, safer and longer lasting than other variants. 

The new lithium manganese ferro phosphate (LMFP) cathode powder, although containing no nickel or cobalt, has been found to have an increased energy density of up to 25 per cent and greater quality and consistency than standard lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) powders. 

Regular VSPC clients will test the LMFP and use it to manufacture commercial-format LIBs. Limited quantities of LMFP will be made available to battery manufacturers focusing on the electric vehicle market to use the LMFP to produce safe, cost-effective alternatives to nickel-based battery packs. 

The olivine crystal structure of both LFP and LMFP are characterised by strong chemical bonds that are more stable than ‘spinel’-type nickel or cobalt LIBs. According to VSPC, this ensures batteries have superior safety, an extended life, lower production costs and a wide range of operating conditions. 

Sustainability-wise, LMFP and LFP also contain around 20 per cent less lithium per unit of stored electrical energy. 

Additionally, Lithium Australia has developed LieNA, a technology for the recovery of mining ‘waste’ materialsLieNA refines fine and low-grade spodumene (the principal lithium ore) and discharges to tailings during the lithium concentration process. The process also involves no roasting phase which will further reduce the carbon footprint of battery production. 

The preferred output of the LieNA process is lithium phosphate, which can be used directly in the synthesis of LMFP. 

“In March of this year, for the first time China’s output of LFP-type LIBs eclipsed that of nickel/cobalt LIBs. In fact, worldwide there’s a growing trend away from the use of nickel and cobalt in such batteries, a step in the right direction in terms of safety and the sustainability of the industry as a whole,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said. 

“LMFP is poised to become the next generation of LIB, which can make EVs cheaper and safer but still with great range. The Company’s LMFP is leading the way in this regard.” 

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