Lithium Australia Managing Director Adrian Griffin and Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane.
Lithium Australia Managing Director Adrian Griffin and Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane. Cordell Richardson

New life for old batteries to jump start renewables growth

AN AUSTRALIAN company that seeks to utilise used lithium batteries that would otherwise go to landfill unveiled its latest pilot project near Ipswich on Thursday.

It is hoped that Lithium Australia's newly acquired and formally recommissioned VSPC (Very Small Particle Company) factory at Wacol will play a key role in making lithium batteries, such as those found in consumer electronics, fully recyclable.

Currently, lithium batteries are only recycled for other valuable elements contained within them including cobalt and nickel. Recycling facilities for batteries within Australia are also limited.

Lithium Australia Director Adrian Griffin said that there is far more existing lithium above the ground going to waste than there is currently being mined, and that the company was continually developing technology to extract the lithium from existing 'used' products.

"There really isn't an argument for digging another hole. Really what you should do is find a way to take advantage of the materials that other people have already mined," Mr Griffin said.

The facility, which has been reopened after five years is Australia's only cathode powder pilot plant and battery-testing facility.

It is hoped that Lithium Australia will be able to capitalise on emerging demand for products such as electric car batteries and domestic energy storage systems like the Tesla Powerwall.



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