Lithium Australia’s (ASX:LIT) 100%-owned subsidiary VSPC Ltd, a developer and manufacturer of advanced cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), is now also producing commercial- quality lithium titanium oxide (LTO) anode powder.
VSPC is a developer of advanced battery materials, including lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) and lithium manganese ferro phosphate (‘LMFP’) cathode powders. Its proprietary nanotechnology is the subject of international patents.
In addition to producing advanced LFP and LFMP cathode powders, VSPC’s pilot plant has now manufactured high-quality LTO, an anode material required for high- performance LIB cells.
Conventionally, LTO is prepared via a solid-state reaction, with titanium dioxide (rutile or anatase) and lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide as the raw materials. The materials are calcined at temperatures above 800° Celsius for a prolonged period (from 12 to 24 hours) to ensure high-phase purity.
Because VSPC’s patented, slurry-based process reduces calcination time and ensures consistent phase- and end-product quality, it is ideal for producing LTO.
When VSPC’s LTO was benchmarked against five commercial LTO products, it achieved a specific capacity of 169 milliampere hours per gram (‘mAh/g’) at 0.1C.
Overall, VSPC’s LTO achieved superior specific capacity when compared with other commercially available materials, including Tech9 LTO (used by battery research collaborators) and Hombitec LTO, acquired by VSPC prior to 2013.
Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin, said that as well as creating new market opportunities, VSPC’s success with LTO has prompted it to expand its research into other anode battery materials, including titanium niobium oxide and other niobium-based anode materials often used in space and defense applications. VSPC is now developing an anode materials work programme in concert with other organisations that are leading research in this area.
“To achieve the performance desired for next-generation LIBs, improved anodes are also required. VSPC’s patented technologies are applicable to the production of both anode and cathode materials,” Mr Griffin said.
“Currently, VSPC produces the world’s highest performing LFP cathode powder and is among only a handful of companies capable of producing high-energy-density LMFP.
“Market demand for advanced nickel- and cobalt-free batteries puts VSPC in a unique position to deliver precursors that meet more exacting performance requirements. VSPC’s successful production of high-performance LTO is an Australian first, as well as a global necessity.”
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