Livent has opened what will be the first of several major expansions of its operations around the world Bessemer City, North Carolina. The company has increased lithium hydroxide production capacity by 50% to address growing demand for electric vehicle battery materials. The company added aided by long-term growth opportunities and downstream incentives from the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act, which encourages use of lithium produced or processed in North America.
Livent has signed a sourcing agreement, under which it will supply General Motors (GM) with battery-grade lithium hydroxide for six years from 2025. GM intends to use this in its battery cathodes, which will power electric vehicles such as the recently revealed Chevrolet Blazer EV (pictured), Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq.
Chlor-alkali producer Nobian, which was separated from the rest of Nouryon last year, has signed an agreement with German-Australian lithium developer Vulcan Energy to assess the feasibility of producing lithium hydroxide from lithium chloride in Germany.
Nobian has an electrolysis and crystallisation demo-plant at its site in Frankfurt, near to Vulcan’s own geothermal-lithium reservoir sites in the Upper Rhine Valley area, where it plans to build several geothermal plants and a central lithium-hydroxide plant.
Shortly after acquiring a lithium converter in Guangxi province, Albemarle has signed investment agreements that will enable it go build two lithium hydroxide plants in China. Each will have 50,000 tonnes/year of capacity and construction is to be completed by the end of 2024.
They are located at the Yangtze River International Chemical Industrial Park within the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone in Jiangsu province and the Pengshan Economic Development Park in the Pengshan district in Sichuan province.
The two largest players in lithium chemistry have both made significant investments in the past month, with Albemarle closing a deal that gives it a stake in a spodumene mine in Western Australia and Livent has begun construction of more lithium hydroxide production in the US.