Licence Covers VSPC’s Nano-Powder Production
Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) subsidiart VSPC Ltd has had its process patent approved by the European Patent Office.
Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin, said the VSPC process produces nano-structured metal-oxide products simply and efficiently.
“VSPC has been granted a European patent for the production of complex metal-oxide nanoparticles,” Mr Griffin said.
“A low-cost process, it accurately controls the chemical composition and distribution of the chemical elements within in a predetermined crystal structure.
“The resulting products can be used in many applications, among them catalysts, solid-oxide fuel cells, super conductors and lithium-ion batteries (‘LIBs’), to name but a few.
“This greatly enhances Lithium Australia’s arsenal of intellectual property and reinforces our position as a significant supplier of innovative technology to the battery industry.”
The VSPC patent is entitled ‘Method for Producing Fine-Grained particles. This technology is relevant to advanced nano-structured materials used in a wide variety of existing and emerging technologies, including catalytic materials for automobiles and chemical refining. It is also applicable to electrochemical applications, batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells, all of which are important in terms of global energy transformation.
Fine-grained metal-oxide and nanomaterials require consistency of chemical composition and crystal structure. As such, they are often difficult and expensive to produce via conventional methods involving inefficient and energy-intensive process steps. Typically, these materials perform better when characterised by very small particles with a high surface area for a given volume of material.
Traditional methods of manufacturing nano-metal-oxides generally involve extensive milling of solids produced from solid-state synthesis or precipitation from solution. VSPC’s technology, however, adopts a simple, solution-based approach using surfactants and thermal processing to produce consistent nano-structured materials. This now-patented process technology, which is scaleable, is relevant to wide range of advanced oxide materials and technological applications.
VSPC’s process technology is relevant to a number of battery materials, among them metal-oxide cathode powders (e.g. lithium manganese oxide (LMO), lithium nickel manganese oxide (LMNO), lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC)), as well as phosphate-based cathode materials like lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) and lithium manganese ferro phosphate (LMFP). Most other cathode-powder types can also be produced using the VSPC process.
Lithium titanate (LTO), used as an anode material in long-life lithium-ion batteries, is another medium that can be manufactured using the VSPC process.
Application of VSPC’s process paves the way for the production of other high-capacity lithium-rich metal-oxide cathode materials, such as lithium niobium manganese oxide, that may provide the key to greater safety, longevity and high energy-density in lithium- ion batteries.