American Battery Technology Manufactures US Lithium Hydroxide

This is the first US commercial facility to manufacture battery- grade lithium hydroxide from US-based resources.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

June 21, 2024

3 Min Read
ABT manufacturers Lithium hydroxide
Lithium hydroxide successfully manufactured at American Battery Technology Company’s integrated demonstration facility. American Battery Technology

American Battery Technology has successfully manufactured demonstration-scale quantities of lithium hydroxide material produced in its integrated facility specifically using its own lithium bearing claystone material from its Tonopah Flats Lithium Project (TFLP) resource near Tonopah, NV.

The facility utilizes the company’s first-of-kind technology to manufacture this lithium hydroxide from claystone collected from its Tonopah Flats Lithium Project in Nevada, one of the largest known lithium deposits in the US.

"There are currently multiple corporations constructing multi-billion-dollar facilities for the manufacturing of high energy density cathode active material within North America, and these facilities require large amounts of lithium specifically in the form of battery grade lithium hydroxide as their feed material," said ABTC CEO Ryan Melsert. "However, there are currently no commercial facilities within the US to manufacture battery grade lithium hydroxide from US-based resources. 

"We are excited to have developed our own technologies for how to manufacture lithium hydroxide from our own U.S.-based unconventional claystone resource, to have constructed this integrated demonstration scale facility with support from the US Department of Energy through a competitive grant where we can process hundreds of tonnes of material, and to now be manufacturing large quantities of lithium hydroxide material to deliver to strategic customers for their qualification and long-term offtake agreement processes."

Critical for supply-chain success

The signing of long-term purchase offtake agreements for battery grade lithium hydroxide is critical to the success of the corporations currently constructing facilities for the manufacturing of high energy density cathode active material. With the type of demonstration-scale facility that ABTC has constructed and is currently operating, large quantities of representative lithium hydroxide can be produced and delivered to automotive OEM, battery cell manufacturing, and cathode manufacturing corporations for qualification and evaluation in the process of negotiating and signing these long-term offtake agreements.

ABTC is working to further evolve this technology by constructing a commercial-scale 30,000 tonnes lithium hydroxide per year refinery utilizing this system design directly at its TFLP property, which has been identified as one of the largest lithium resources in the U.S.  In October 2022, ABTC was selected for an additional competitively awarded $57.5 million grant from the U.S. DOE for a $115M project to support the construction of this commercial refinery. ABTC has engaged one of the premier global construction firms, Black & Veatch, for the engineering, procurement, and construction of this commercial-scale lithium hydroxide refinery.

Novel processing tech

Lithium products are generally manufactured from conventional feedstock resources, including hard rock spodumene materials primarily from western Australia and lithium-rich brines primarily from South America; however the US does not have large quantities of these developed conventional resources. In order to significantly increase US production of battery grade lithium products, ABTC developed a set of processing technologies specifically for use with the unconventional resource of lithium-bearing claystone that is found in Nevada. ABTC has now explored and developed its own lithium-bearing claystone resource at its 10,000+ acre Tonopah Flats Lithium Project, which is one of the largest identified lithium resources in the US.

ABTC is also commercializing first-of-kind technologies for its battery recycling operations and has manufactured a large inventory of recycled battery metal products at its commercial-scale recycling facility in Storey County, NV. The company's internally developed recycling processes use an upfront strategic de-manufacturing process followed by a targeted chemical extraction train in order to recover battery materials with high yields, low cost, and with a low environmental footprint.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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