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Scaleup for a process to make a cobalt-free alternative for Li-ion batteries

By Chemical Engineering |

Phostech Lithium Inc. (St. Bruno, Canada; edlinks.chemengonline.com/6893-533), an affiliate of Süd-Chemie AG (Munich, Germany), has completed construction of the first large-scale production plant for making lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) – a replacement for lithium cobalt oxide that allows larger, safer and more-environmentally benign batteries for portable electronic devices. The CAN$6-million plant will initially produce 300 m.t./yr, and then be extended to 900 m.t./yr. Over the next two years, an additional investment of CAN$35 million in the Montreal area will boost the company’s capacity to 1,500 m.t./yr. The production process that Phostech is scaling up involves the solid-state reactive sintering under a controlled atmosphere of a mixture containing carbon and precursors of lithium, iron and phosphate. A second process will include the precipitation of a LiFePO4 precursor, followed by filtration and a thermal treatment in a controlled atmosphere. LiFePO4 was discovered in 1995 by the University of Texas and licensed to (and further developed by) Hydro-Québec from 1997 to 2001. Since then, Phostech Lithium has been granted the exclusive license for the production and sale of LiFePO4 for lithium ion…
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