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Lithium Battery Demand Drives Process Evolution

By Mary Page Bailey |

An explosion in battery demand has fostered a welcoming environment for innovations in sourcing and processing lithium and cobalt The drive for higher capacity and enhanced performance from lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), in conjunction with skyrocketing demand for electronic devices and electric vehicles (EVs), has necessitated innovations in sourcing, processing and recycling the major materials used in battery manufacturing, especially lithium and cobalt. For additional background on lithium, read Spotlight on Lithium. Processes and equipment evolve One side effect of the increasing demand for lithium is a rush-to-market tendency from mining companies. “Over the next several years, a number of companies are coming online to extract lithium carbonate from spodumene ore, which is typically about 8% Li 2O by weight. In order to meet demand, it’s been a rush to start up,” says Josh Marion, a project engineer from Jenike & Johanson Inc. (Tyngsboro, Mass.; www.jenike.com). This rush, combined with the high value of lithium and its specific physical properties, underlines the importance of proper design throughout all stages of lithium processing — from initial mining all the way to the final refining steps. This forces processors…
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