Green Lithium, a mineral processing company, has secured a £631,000 grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre to support the development of what it claims will be Europe’s first large-scale lithium refinery, located in the UK.
The funding that equals about 727,614 euros at present comes through the APC’s Automotive Transformation Fund Feasibility Studies (ATF-FS). The centre had issued a second call for funding applications last December as reported.
Green Lithium says there is no commercial lithium refining capability of scale in Europe at the moment as it hopes to fill the gap and supply the UK and Europe with battery-grade lithium hydroxide.
The company projects that the UK and European electric vehicle industries will require 1.4 million tonnes of refined battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate per year by 2030, meaning growth of more than 400% in supply is needed over the next ten years.
“We are committed to achieving a carbon net-zero operation, targeting 2030, and providing a secure, local, low-carbon source of refined battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate with 100% traceability for the lithium-ion battery industry,” pledges Richard Taylor, founding director at Green Lithium.
Green Lithium says it applies a sustainable and low-carbon refining process of hard-rock, unrefined lithium mineral spodumene concentrate without detailing it further. On the website, the company speaks of a “modern sulphate and acid-free refining process”.
It also claims to have secured a site already, again without going into detail. Our request for comment has yet to be answered. A timeline shows 24 more months to prepare for production, i.e. finding suppliers, operators and receiving all permits.
The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) collaborates with the UK government, the automotive industry and academia. Since its foundation in 2013, APC says it has funded 150 low-carbon projects involving 375 partners. The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 260 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions from 10.2 million cars.
The Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) was committed in 2019 to accelerate the development of a net-zero vehicle supply chain, funding UK companies involved in batteries, motors and drives, power electronics, fuel cells, or recycling.