Following technical meetings this month, VSPC has announce the completion of Stage 1 cathode-material testing with potential customers in China and Japan.
Evaluation of VSPC’s Gen 4 lithium-ferro-phosphate (LFP) cathode material, which commenced in March 2019, has met specifications for power and energy cells at DLG’s R&D facility in Shanghai, China.
The materials – assessed in a commercial 18650 battery-cell format – were tested under a range of electrochemical and temperature conditions and subjected to long-term cycle testing. It was concluded that VSPC’s LFP material met DLG’s stringent specifications for use in lithium-ion battery (‘LIB’) cells for both power and energy applications.
LIT signed a letter of intent with leading Chinese battery producer DLG Battery Co and has incorporated a 50:50 jointly owned business, Soluna Australia for the exclusive supply and sale of Soluna Battery packs and modules in Australia, and will form a technology alliance that will fast-track the commercialisation of VSPC’s patented cathode powder technology for use in DLG batteries.
According to Lithium Australia, meeting DLG’s stringent cathode material specification is an important precursor to DLG agreeing to purchase VSPC LFP battery cathode product for use in its batteries.
VSPC is now establishing a supply chain for delivery, in 2021, of LFP to various LIB cell makers in China, including DLG. Target applications include LIB cells for energy storage and large transport vehicles.
VSPC has also received positive feedback from Japanese battery-cell producers evaluating its LFP products at laboratory scale.
To date, the electrochemical performance of VSPC’s LFP material has met the Japanese requirements, and VSPC is working to refine its product properties for specific applications and prepare for large-scale testing in 2020.
The market for LFP is expected to grow strongly in the next 10 years, due to its particular suitability for energy storage and certain types of transportation; this includes as a replacement for lead-acid batteries in various automotive applications and as back-up for power supplies. Commercial sales of VSPC LFP into the Japanese market are anticipated in 2022.
While potential customers are testing the cathode product no formal binding offtake agreements are currently in place and shareholders should be aware that there is no certainty binding offtake agreements will be reached.
Lithium Australia MD Adrian Griffin acknowledged that this year has been a significant shift in the Chinese battery markets, with greater demand for LFP for use in short-range electric vehicle and energy-storage applications.
“The test results from battery producers in China and Japan show clearly that the performance of VSPC cathode powders is comparable to other materials currently supplied for the production of LFP LIBs,” said Mr Griffin.
“We look forward to furthering our partnerships within the battery industry and, ultimately, supplying products that meet not only VSPC’s stringent quality specifications but those of its international customers.”