The project will be delivered by junior lithium start-up company Green Lithium, which has been backed by the UK government with a grant of over £600,000 ($682,074) through the Automotive Transformation Fund.
Green Lithium aims to produce 50,000 tonnes per year of battery-grade lithium, which is enough to meet 6% of the EU and UK’s 2030 battery requirements, according to the company.
“[This project] is allowing us to move quickly to secure our supply chains of critical minerals, as we know that geopolitical threats and global events beyond our control can severely impact [affect/effect] the supply of key components that could delay the rollout of electric vehicles in the UK,” UK business secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.
The news comes at a time of uncertainty for the establishment of a battery ecosystem in the UK following the recent financial troubles of UK-based battery start-up Britishvolt.
Earlier this month, Britishvolt said the weakening economic outlook was affecting its business. The company had secured short-term funding to continue operations and bridge over the coming weeks to a more secure funding position for the future.
The company’s employees had also agreed to take a temporary pay cut, it said.
Demand for lithium, a key component in the batteries that power electric vehicles (EV), is expected to increase in the coming years.
Fastmarkets research forecasts demand for lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) to reach 698,900 tonnes in 2022, increasing to 884,400 tonnes of LCE demand the following year.
Supply is forecast to increase to 895,900 tonnes in 2023 from 679,400 tonnes of LCE in 2022, giving the market a slight surplus.
Prices in the spot market in Asia have increased in recent weeks as a result of supply struggling to meet demand.
Fastmarkets assessed the price of lithium hydroxide monohydrate LiOH.H2O, 56.5% LiOH min, battery grade, spot price cif China, Japan & Korea at $82-84 per kg Monday, narrowing upward by $2 week on week from $80-84, and up by 137% from the start of the year.
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