Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary VSPC Ltd would be participating, together with CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) in Australia, UQ (The University of Queensland) and Soluna Australia, in $5 million CRC-P Programme To Develop Fast-Charge` lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries (LIBs) to be used in new generation trams, under the auspices of the federal government’s Co-operative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P).
Conventional Trams (Image Source: Alice Hartrick)
Battery-powered trams eliminate the need for overhead power lines, which are expensive, visually polluting as well as potentially hazardous.
As part of the CRC-P Round 8, VSPC will receive a total grant of $ 1.6 million for its participation (CSIRO, UQ and Soluna contributions will be in-kind) and would be responsible for developing advanced cathode materials.
VSPC Ltd, at its R&D and pilot plant facility in Brisbane, Queensland has developed advanced techniques to manufacture Li-ion cathode powders applicable to all Li-ion battery chemistries, including lithium-ferro-phosphate (LFP) and lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese-oxide (NCM).
In addition to the expertise in the design of Li-ion batteries, CSIRO has specific prior experience and intellectual property relating to fast-charge batteries for application in trams and other forms of transport (such as e-buses, ferries and military applications). VSPC would be partnering with battery researchers at CSIRO’s Clayton site in Victoria for designing, manufacturing and testing fast-charge Li-ion battery prototypes.
The UQ team at the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, led by Professor Lianzhou Wang from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, has extensive capabilities associated with the analysis of advanced materials. VSPC will work with the UQ team on both the characterisation and optimisation of VSPC’s battery materials.
Soluna, meanwhile, will provide its expert advisory on manufacturing and also lead commercialisation of the fast-charge battery products developed.
Adam Best, a principal research scientist at CSIRO commented that the organisation has more than 35 years’ experience with batteries and has been working for over 15 years in the lithium battery field. He added that CSIRO was excited to apply and utilise its significant capabilities and expertise to this project, in collaboration with VSPC and UQ, for the design, manufacture and testing of next-generation fast-charge batteries that would incorporate VSPC’s advanced cathode materials.
Mike Vaisey, Executive Director at VSPC also added that that the project presents a tremendous opportunity to bring together Australia’s technological capabilities, including VSPC’s advanced cathode materials, CSIRO’s battery expertise and UQ’s analytical abilities for manufacturing new battery systems. He also informed that Light-rail mode of transport is witnessing a resurgence worldwide with the modernisation of cities and fast charge batteries are critical to avoiding the poles and wires of the past.
The new collaboration is well in line with Lithium Australia’s aspirations to build a circular battery economy wherein there will be ethical and sustainable supply of energy metals to the battery industry.
“This is an unparalleled opportunity to combine VSPC’s battery-materials technology with some of the world’s leading research. The aim is to deliver an Australian product that puts this country at the forefront of battery development … and there’s more to it than trams; successful application of what is currently at our fingertips will lead to myriad other fast-charge applications, many of them not yet thought of.” - Adrian Griffin, Managing Director, Lithium Australia NL
VSPC’s New Funding Grant
Recently on 24 January 2020, Lithium Australia had announced that VSPC Ltd had successfully received a co-funding grant of up to $ 185,000 from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), which was established as an industry-led not-for-profit organisation under the government of Australia’s Industry Growth Centres initiative, to enhance the international competitiveness of the Australian manufacturing sector and make it more dynamic, with advanced capabilities and skills at its core.
MoU to commercialise Cathode Technology
Earlier on 6 January 2020, VSPC Ltd and Beijing Saideli Technology Incorporated Company Ltd (SDL) had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishing a low-cost supply chain for VSPC cathode material in China, while also collaborate on a feasibility study for an international cathode material project using VSPC’s technology. Extensive technical review and discussions around VSPC’s Lithium-Ferro-Phosphate (LFP) cathode product were undertaken before reaching the MoU.
Application of LFP in energy-storage and transport applications is presently a strong focus for VSPC as the demand for LFP batteries is expected to expand significantly over the next decade.
For an eye over Lithium Australia’s December 2019 Quarter, Please READ.
Stock Information: Lithium Australia has a market capitalisation of around $ 33.13 million with ~ 561.48 million shares outstanding. On 12 February 2020, the LIT stock was trading higher at $ 0.064, zoomed up 8.47% at AEDT 01:30 PM with ~ 2.34 million shares outstanding.
Besides, LIT has delivered positive returns of 20.41% in the last six months and 55.26% in the last three months.
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