CISIRO Studies To Investigate Optimised Battery Applications
Lithium Energy Limited (ASX:LEL) has engaged leading Australian science body the CSIRO to undertake spheronisation and purification of Burke natural graphite particles for potential use in Lithium-ion batteries and electrochemical optimisation testwork.
The Burke Deposit
The Burke Graphite Deposit in Queensland, Australia, is one of the highest-grade graphite deposits globally, with a JORC Inferred Mineral Resource of 6.3Mt @ 16.0% Total Graphitic Carbon (TGC) (with a TGC cut-off grade of 5%) for 1,000,000 tonnes of contained graphite (including a high grade component of 2.3Mt @20.6% TGC).
Previous testwork has confirmed that the Burke Graphite Project contains very high grade natural graphite that is able to be processed by standard flotation technology to international benchmark product categories for use in Lithium-ion batteries.1
Flotation tests previously conducted by Independent Metallurgical Operations Pty Ltd (IMO) confirmed that a concentrate of purity in excess of 95% and up to 99% TGC can be produced from the Burke Deposit using a standard flotation process.
Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, was then provided the natural graphite flake from the Burke Deposit to determine the suitability of such graphite for use in Lithium-ion batteries.
This work included the fabrication of coin battery cells using Burke graphite into electrodes to determine the influence of flake size on electrode performance.
This testwork showed that the Burke natural graphite demonstrated good performance in a coin cell configuration, compared to synthetic graphite based electrode control electrodes.
Further, and very importantly, the tests resulted in Burke graphite cells showing generally higher levels of capacity compared with control coin cells when repeatedly (50 times) charged and discharged over a 10 hour cycle time.
This critical aspect of the Burke graphite electrical storage capacity is highly encouraging and the Company has therefore determined to undertake the further test work required by battery manufacturers seeking to acquire graphite for use in their battery manufacturing operations.
Lithium Energy has now entered into a new Research Agreement with CSIRO to undertake further work, including attempting spheronisation and purification of Burke natural graphite particles and electrochemical testwork. This spheroidisation of the natural graphite flakes will, through a mechanical process, shape the graphite into ‘potato-like’ structures with the objective of easier processing of Burke natural graphite flakes into electrode materials to reduce capacity losses and enhance cell efficiency.
This work comprises a key component required to demonstrate to potential graphite purchasers the benefits of the natural flake graphite within the Burke Deposit.
The research project is made possible by CSIRO Kick-Start, an initiative that provides funding and support for innovative Australian small businesses to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to help grow and develop their business. 50% of the project cost will be co-funded by CSIRO through the Kick- Start Program.
For further information please visit: https://www.lithiumenergy.com.au/