Albemarle and 6K to develop 'novel' lithium battery materials

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Albemarle, a specialist in advanced lithium materials, and 6K, an emerging leader in microwave-controlled plasma technology, have announced plans to develop innovative lithium battery materials.

The two companies have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to explore the use of 6K’s patented UniMelt advanced, sustainable materials production platform to develop novel lithium battery materials through potentially disruptive manufacturing processes.

“Albemarle is developing advanced lithium materials to enable breakthrough levels of lithium-ion battery performance. The UniMelt plasma technology opens new reaction pathways for lithium material innovation. Our collaboration with 6K has significant potential,” said Dr. Glen Merfeld, Chief Technical Officer for Albemarle Lithium.

In addition, 6K’s UniMelt platform promises a number of benefits for sustainable manufacturing. For instance, if a conventional 16-GWh battery cathode production plant was converted to 6K’s UniMelt platform, it would reduce CO2 emissions by 70%; lower water consumption by 90% and reduce wastewater production by 100%, while requiring a 50% smaller factory footprint.

“6K technology creates the opportunity for modular manufacturing allowing for a smaller footprint, faster construction, and new models for localization. The collaboration sets a strong foundation not only for advanced material development but also for future commercialisation,” Merfeld said.

In addition to the JDA, Albemarle has made an undisclosed investment in 6K through Volta Energy Technologies. An existing financial investor in 6K, Volta is a venture capital firm that connects strategic investors with well-researched investment opportunities in the energy storage sector.