Rock Tech Lithium to examine supply chains

Rock Tech Lithium has agreed to collaborate with the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT and supply chain tracking provider Circulor. The goal of the cooperation is to obtain comprehensive transparency of the lithium value chain.

This should make it possible to trace the path of lithium from the raw material, spodumene, to the end product, lithium hydroxide, according to the Fraunhofer Institute. In the future, it should also be possible to track the battery, its life cycle in the car and recycling.

Rock Tech had announced in October 2021 that it intended to build a lithium hydroxide plant in Guben, Brandenburg. The so-called “converter factory” will process lithium-containing spodumene into battery-grade lithium hydroxide. There are also rumors of a second converter factory in Germany – the company has recently confirmed plans to build another converter in Romania.

In theory, Rock Tech’s supply chain is simple: the German-Canadian company wants to mine the spodumene at its own Georgia Lake mine project and then process it into battery materials at converters near its customers. However, at the beginning of February 2022, the German publication Handelsblatt wrote that there was no approval for the mine project in Canada yet.

“A holistic documentation of our value chain will allow us to provide information about the origin and environmental balance of our lithium hydroxide, creating a decisive added value for our customers,” says Markus Brügmann, CEO of Rock Tech Lithium. The company will create a material passport for its product based on the work of Fraunhofer UMSICHT and Circulor – anticipating the upcoming EU battery regulation, according to the Fraunhofer Institute.

Specifically, Fraunhofer UMSICHT is supporting Rock Tech in recording all material and energy flows and calculating the life cycle assessment of processes along the entire value chain. Based on the data obtained, Rock Tech wants to further optimize the production process already in the planning phase – with the goal of reducing the energy demand as much as possible. “Extensive collection and analysis of their data not only allows Rock Tech to design the production of lithium hydroxide more sustainably, but also supports them in implementing subsequent process optimizations in the most energy and environmentally friendly way possible,” says Ilka Gehrke, head of the Environment and Resource Utilization department at Fraunhofer UMSICHT.

The third partner, Circulor, provides Rock Tech with the actual traceability of lithium from the mine in Canada to the lithium hydroxide plant in Germany. The British green tech company tracks raw materials in real-time using a software solution, “even when they change their physical state – as is the case with lithium,” according to the Fraunhofer Institute. In this way, Circulor also wants to be able to track CO2 emissions from the supply chain.

Circulor already has other partners in the battery and electric car industry: Volvo Cars and Polestar use Circulor software – Volvo uses it to track the supply chains of critical raw materials such as cobalt, while Polestar uses it to record CO2 equivalents in its supply chain. In 2020, Volvo also acquired a stake in Circulor.


about „Rock Tech Lithium to examine supply chains“

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