Call it the “Tesla Effect”.
The price of lithium, which is used to power electric car batteries, continues to rise as the prospects for EVs to comprise a significant portion of overall vehicle sales seem higher than they did just a few years ago.
While this has incited a staking rush of sorts amongst junior miners looking for lithium, one Vancouver-based junior says its solution can help solve the supply demand issue that some experts say is poised to become a real problem for the fledgling industry.
Nano One Materials (TSXV:NNO) CEO Dan Blondal was on BNN yesterday to talk about the completion of a $6-million pilot plant designed to showcase the company’s patented technology which simulates simulate full-scale production of cathode materials for the electric vehicle market.
Blondal says as opposed to the industry standard practice of mechanically melting, grinding and milling materials, Nano One’s process combines them chemically so the atoms are mixed together at the atomic level. This he says, allows it to work with lower cost lithium and a wider range of the chemical element.
“The industry prefers a lithium hydroxide for electric vehicles and we are able to use a lower cost version of lithum, lithium carbonate going into it, explained Blondal. “We believe in a supply constrained world of lithium that we can provide value upstream in the mining market as well as downstream in the performance of the materials.”
Blondal says Nano One’s plant is currently in the testing phase, but the company should be able to begin producing materials within a few weeks.
“That’s what we believe is going to bring in the strategics, the large battery companies, the large mining companies, where the value proposition really kicks in,” he says.
Funding for Nano One’s pilot plant came in part from the automotive supplier’s innovation program (ASIP) of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).
Shares of Nano One Materials today closed down 2.5 per cent to $0.78.
Disclosure: Nano One Materials is an annual sponsor of Cantech Letter.