Canada-based Li-Metal Corp., a developer of lithium metal anode and lithium metal production technologies, announced the successful production and shipment of its first batch of lithium metal ingots. The lithium metal ingots were produced at Li-Metal’s recently commissioned lithium metal reprocessing and casting facility in Markham, Ontario, which has the capacity to process up to 15 metric tonnes of anode scrap material per year.
Lithium metal anodes are produced either through a conventional extrusion/rolling or through more economically viable physical vapor deposition (PVD) processes, the commercialization of which Li-Metal is championing in conjunction with its exclusive manufacturing partner, Mustang Vacuum Systems.
Traditional extrusion processes require the lithium metal to be supplied in ingot form. On average, production scrap generated by gigafactories can have up to a 30% metal scrap rate. Lithium metal ingot manufacturing scraps are currently designated as hazardous waste and, typically, incinerated whereby valuable, critical battery materials are lost forever.
To enhance the sustainability of lithium metal anodes and to overcome the need to incinerate scrap lithium metal, Li-Metal developed a novel reprocessing and casting technology.
The company’s technology reprocesses the scrap lithium into ingots that may be used for anode production. As Li-Metal continues to progress with its lithium metal reprocessing program and demonstrating the continuous production of lithium metal ingots, it is currently evaluating scrap samples from multiple partners to scale capacity.
The lithium metal ingot was produced using lithium material from production scrap from lithium foil producers.
Li-Metal expects to eventually leverage the pilot facility and know-how generated during the scale up of the reprocessing facility to help its potential partners produce high purity specialty lithium-alloy ingots for advanced battery producers.
Earlier this year, Li-Metal successfully produced its first lithium metal product using its patented carbonate to metal (C2M) technology at its lithium metal pilot facility in Markham, Ontario. The C2M technology is designed to produce high-quality lithium metal ingots with the lowest environmental footprint globally. The additional capabilities to produce lithium metal ingots from scrap allows for diversity of raw material supply, which is critical as the company continues to advance its C2M metal technology and its ultra-thin lithium metal anodes platform.
Conventional lithium-ion batteries, while widely used, face critical challenges including limited energy density, slow charging, capacity fade and safety concerns. To overcome these challenges next-generation battery technologies that replace graphite anodes with lithium metal are being developed. The scale-up of these technologies by 2028-2030 is expected to deliver compact and high-capacity power sources that could unlock new markets, including electric aviation and eVTOLs, in addition to mitigating electric vehicle range anxiety and making them more cost efficient.
In line with the scale up, Li-Metal is advancing its vertically integrated lithium metal and anode technology platform to produce ultra-thin, high-performance lithium metal anodes to help enable the commercialization of next-generation battery technologies.