Lithium Australia is forming a business partnership with leading Chinese battery producer DLG Battery to launch a new range of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) in the Australian market, with a focus on industry-scale energy storage systems (ESS).
The new marketing division, Soluna Australia, will provide technical support, customer service and a range of lithium-iron-phosphate (often referred to as lithium-ferro-phosphate or LFP) battery options for greater safety and superior performance in ESS applications.
Lithium Australia has cemented its partnership with DLG by incorporating a joint marketing division, which will trade as Soluna Australia. Extensive market enquiries have identified strong demand for flexible and tailored LIB and LFP solutions in the ESS sector, which will be the prime focus of Soluna Australia, a company in which Lithium Australia holds 50 per cent equity.
From a new Australian-based facility, Soluna Australia will supply and service a range of energy-storage products – from residential energy-storage through to industrial energy-storage units. Custom products, in particular for applications such as large-scale storage (including microgrids), will be provided to bespoke specifications.
Lithium Australia says that establishing an Australian warehousing and technical facility will provide greater certainty for ESS users currently relying on offshore suppliers.
Most of the product range will be available with nickel-cobalt-manganese ('NCM') and LFP options. Lithium Australia, which is a great advocate of LFP for reasons of safety and performance, plans to supply DLG with LFP cathode powders manufactured using Lithium Australia’s the cathode powder production technology of its wholly-owned subsidiary VSPC.
Although VSPC technology can be used to generate most LIB cathode powders, VSPC has maintained a strong emphasis on LFP due to its superior attributes, which make it the most appropriate choice for ESS applications.
Lithium Australia, through VSPC, is currently manufacturing LFP cathode powders on a pilot scale, with those powders used by DLG to produce commercial 18650 cells for testing purposes.
Recent concerns arising from electric vehicle (EV) fires have highlighted public concerns about EV safety, based on the use of LIBs containing nickel and cobalt. Although LFP batteries have a lower energy density than competing nickel/cobalt-based LIBs, their superior safety record makes LFP a preferable option for many applications.
“LFP provides the greatest safety, combined with longer service life than competing battery technologies,” said Lithium Australia.
Lithium Australia MD Adrian Griffin sees the partnership with DLG, a leading Chinese battery producer, as an opportunity to establish Lithium Australia’s new division, Soluna Australia, as a leading Australian-based provider of LIBs and technical solutions to the fast-growing ESS market.
“In addition, Lithium Australia is well on the way to meeting the requirements that will enable VSPC to commercialise its cathode materials and provide Australia with access to purpose-built LFP battery storage, the safest and most effective option for energy storage systems,” commented Mr Griffin.