Quality over quantity: Is your lithium suitable for the battery boom?
We are in the midst of a global battery boom. As electric vehicles, energy storage systems and electronic devices become more prevalent, demand for batteries, especially lithium-ion, has grown significantly.
Being a component within the majority of current battery chemistries, in their Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), the International Energy Agency forecasts Lithium to see the fastest demand growth among critical minerals – soaring to over 40 times current levels.
While keeping pace with demand, companies involved in the lithium-ion battery supply chain must continue to ensure their material is suitable for use in the battery products that are set to shape our future.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
The quality of lithium material used in a battery can significantly impact its performance and overall characteristics. Two key parameters that can determine the quality of your lithium and the product it helps to produce include:
Purity: High-purity battery-grade material is essential for the stability and longevity of lithium-ion batteries. Impurities can interfere with the electrochemical reactions within the battery, leading to degradation of the electrode materials, or reducing capacity. They can also present safety concerns due to their ability to cause defects and thermal runaway. Therefore, a high-quality lithium material with low impurity levels that can be monitored is essential to ensuring optimal battery performance.
Consistency: Consistency in the composition and properties of lithium is crucial for manufacturers and processors. Variations in quality can result in plant downtime and have damaging commercial impacts due to material deviating from agreed specifications. Companies can benefit from independent third-party validation services to help secure their lithium and battery material supply chains.
HOW TO DETERMINE THE QUALITY OF YOUR LITHIUM
Several methods can be used to assess the quality of your commodity. These are applicable whether your material is sourced directly from a mine site or a producer and include:
Sampling: By obtaining representative samples of your lithium material, you can capture variations in lithium content, impurities and other relevant parameters.
Analysis: Through techniques including Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Spectroscopy, or X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectroscopy, you can measure lithium concentration (ICP) and quantify impurities present in the samples.
Metallurgical testing also provides insights into the extraction process and the potential recovery of lithium from the ore or compound. This involves laboratory-scale tests, such as flotation or leaching experiments.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTNER TO HELP WITH YOUR LITHIUM
Working with a reputable laboratory to conduct analyses can help you to determine the composition of your lithium material and whether it is suitable for its intended purpose. When looking for a partner to test your product, you should look for:
Quality Assurance: A good testing organisation should be able to demonstrate the implementation of Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures to ensure the accuracy and reliability of their results. This includes using certified reference materials, conducting duplicate analyses and maintaining appropriate quality control protocols.
Compliance with Industry Standards: Always check whether your testing partner adheres to industry standards and certifications.
Expertise: Consulting specialists or engaging reputable third-party laboratories can provide additional expertise and validation.
HOW CAN ALFRED H KNIGHT HELP?
Alfred H Knight provides analytical services to determine the composition and quality of lithium. With a wealth of experience in the inspection and testing of a wide range of metals and minerals, we have developed a scope of analytical services to provide clients with a comprehensive understanding of their lithium-bearing material.
Our laboratories work to recognised methods, follow standard operating procedures and are supported by our Group Quality and Technical Teams. As a result, we can ensure our clients receive a consistent high-quality and independent service that they can rely on.
If you’re looking for an expert to determine the quality of your materials, Alfred H Knight can help you. Get in touch via our contact page today to see how our team can support you with clear and concise reporting, tailored to suit your requirements.