Lithium Australia makes strides towards battery recycling

Technology from Lithium Australia and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has recovered critical battery metals from spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs).

The proprietary refining technology generates lithium phosphate (LP) of 99.9 per cent purity, with expected lithium recoveries of more than 85 per cent.

Nickel and cobalt recoveries are estimated at more than 90 per cent.

Lithium Australia believes that establishing a supply stream based on recycled battery products will facilitate LIB sustainability, avoid batteries being consigned to landfill, pave the way for the re-birthing of battery materials, and provide an ethical source of battery materials, cobalt in particular.

Optimisation of the company’s proprietary LP refining technology for the generation of LIB cathode precursors has exceeded quality requirements for their incorporation into cathode active materials.

This process step is significant for the purity of the cathode precursors produced and the potential for commercial recovery of lithium from spent battery material.

Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said recovering a precursor of high purity for the production of new LIBs from material otherwise destined for landfill was a huge step forward for the battery industry.

“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.”