Lithium Australia inches closer to commercialisation of next-gen LieNA® technology

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Lithium Australia inches closer to commercialisation of next-gen LieNA® technology

Lithium batteries
Image source: © Stockphototrends | Megapixl.com

Highlights

  • Autoclave for the LieNA® pilot plant, which has undergone factory acceptance testing, has been packed for transport to Australia.
  • LieNA® technology is designed for refining the generally wasted fine or low-grade spodumene into high-quality lithium chemicals to produce LFP batteries. 
  • Lithium Australia has received ‘Notice of Acceptance’ from IP Australia, paving the way for the grant of a patent for its next-generation LieNA® technology. 

In a significant step towards commercialising its revolutionary lithium-extraction technology, Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) has announced that the autoclave for the LieNA® pilot plant has been tested and packed for transport to Australia.

Lithium Australia Managing Director Adrian Griffin has indicated that autoclave delivery for the pilot plant puts the Company on track for commissioning in the first quarter of 2022. The development further boosts the momentum for commercialisation.

LieNA® can produce a range of high-purity lithium chemicals, including lithium phosphate, ideal for use as direct feed for producing lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) cathode materials. 

ALSO READ: Lithium Australia beefs up position in battery market in September quarter

Together with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Lithium Australia is developing the next-generation LieNA® technologsy. 

An overview on LieNA® CRC-P project progress

Lithium Australia's LieNA® Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) is advancing well. The Company was awarded a CRC-P grant of AU$1.3 million to progress the commercialisation of its LieNA® process. 

A new 50l autoclave, considered an integral operational component of the LieNA® CRC-P pilot plant, has undergone factory acceptance testing and packed for transport to NSW-based ANSTO's facility. 

Following installation and commissioning of the autoclave at ANSTO, the LieNA® pilot plant is anticipated to be operational during Q1 2022. 

ALSO READ: Lithium Australia’s Envirostream powers ahead with exciting battery recycling updates

Strong Potential for LieNA®

LieNA® is designed to process fine or low-grade spodumene (a common hard-rock source for lithium) without roasting to produce high-quality lithium chemicals for use as direct feed in LFP batteries production. 

Lithium Australia’s LieNA® process

Source: LIT Update, 30 September 2021

By targeting the fine or low-grade spodumene, which is generally discarded as waste, LieNA® exhibits the potential to:

  • Expand current hard-rock lithium resources to reduce mining costs
  • Improve the sustainability of lithium chemical production from the resource

ALSO READ: Lithium Australia welcomes VSPC’s move to join R&D for next-gen lithium batteries

Notice of Acceptance for next-gen LieNA® patent application

The Company received ‘Notice of Acceptance’ from IP Australia for its next-generation LieNA® technology in November this year, marking another step towards securing a patent for the process in Australia.

Its patent application filed in July 2019 details the lithium extraction process, which consists of pressure alkaline conversion of spodumene followed by an acid leach to recover the lithium. The process, including the impurity-removal steps, is trademarked LieNA®. 

The patent is expected to be granted in Q1 2022, based on normal approval timing. The patent would provide 20 years of legal protection from the date of filing of the application.

The recent ‘Notice of Acceptance’ follows the grant of a patent for the first-generation LieNA® technology in Australia and is further vindication of the value of the Company’s IP. 

 

LIT shares were trading at AU$ 0.110 in the early hours of 22 December 2021, up 4.761% from the last close.

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