American Battery Technology Company Launches Lithium Hydroxide Pilot Plant

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by | Apr 23, 2024

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American Battery Technology Company (ABTC) recently announced a significant advancement in its battery materials technology with the completion of construction and initiation of commissioning at its lithium hydroxide (LiOH) pilot plant. This development marks a critical step in commercializing ABTC’s technologies to unlock a significant domestic primary lithium resource.

ABTC CEO Ryan Melsert expressed that the new facility represents a major step forward with the construction of this first-of-its-kind pilot demonstration system. “We have already generated thousands of liters of lithium solution from our claystone feedstock material demonstrating our selective lithium liberation technologies.”

Collaboration with Automotive and Battery Manufacturers

The newly constructed pilot plant is central to ABTC’s strategy to demonstrate its proprietary technology for extracting lithium from its unconventional resource, the Tonopah Lithium Flats Project. This facility enables continuous system integration and produces significant quantities of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, which is intended to be delivered to strategic partners for further qualification and evaluation.

Several prospective customers, including automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), battery producers, and cathode manufacturers, have conducted tours of the facility. They are set to test and validate the lithium hydroxide produced from the hundreds of tonnes of processed claystone. ABTC is also exploring long-term off-take agreements to secure a stable market for its battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

From Pilot to Commercial-Scale Production

ABTC plans to expand this technology by constructing a commercial-scale refinery capable of producing 30,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide annually. This expansion will be situated directly at the Tonopah Flats Lithium Project site. In recognition of its innovative approach, ABTC received a substantial $115 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in October 2022 to support the construction of this commercial refinery. Global engineering firm Black & Veatch has been engaged in the facility’s engineering, procurement, and construction.

This placement situates the project within a key geographical context and underscores the economic and strategic implications of ABTC’s operations in a region critical to the future of the lithium industry and energy storage technologies.

ABTC’s Commitment to Sustainable Battery Recycling

Concurrently, ABTC is making significant strides in battery recycling with its proprietary technology that differs markedly from traditional methods, which often rely on high-temperature smelting or basic shredding. ABTC’s process begins with strategic de-manufacturing followed by targeted chemical extraction, which allows for high-yield, low-cost recovery of battery materials and minimizes environmental impact.

These recycling technologies have garnered several competitive awards and government grants, emphasizing ABTC’s commitment to developing a domestically sourced, circular battery metals supply chain. This initiative supports environmental sustainability and strengthens U.S. independence in battery material production.

 

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