Li-Metal, a developer of lithium metal battery technologies, has been awarded some 1.4 million Canadian dollars ($1.05 million US) in grant funding from the Government of Ontario to develop and commercialize its lithium metal production technology. The funding consists of two separate grants: one from the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network and one from the Ontario Ministry of Mines.
Li-Metal will use the funds to scale up its production and refining capabilities for battery-grade lithium metal, and to pilot new lithium metal products such as specialty lithium alloy ingots for next-generation batteries.
The company explains that lithium alloys have the potential to improve cycle life and charging rates, and thus offer tremendous potential as next-generation battery materials. Currently, only 3,000 tons of battery-grade lithium metal (solid lithium) is produced globally, and 90% of that production is in China, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. By 2030, Benchmark expects demand to increase to over 21,000 tons per year to support the production of next-generation batteries.
Li-Metal’s lithium metal production technology uses a proprietary process, and is designed to produce lithium metal directly from lithium carbonate, as opposed to lithium chloride. The company recently announced the first lithium metal production at its Markham, Ontario pilot facility, and is progressing towards its goal of demonstrating continuous lithium metal production. Li-Metal is working with a partner on an engineering study for a commercial-scale lithium metal facility.
“Li-Metal continues to advance the commercialization of a patented, cleaner and improved lithium metal production technology to establish ourselves as a domestic supplier of lithium metal for the broader North American market,” said Srini Godavarthy, CEO of Li-Metal. “These grants further validate the technology we are commercializing and endorse the role that Li-Metal is poised to play in building a next-generation battery supply chain.”