Commercial Scale Lithium Production In Sight For Nano One Materials
The announcements coming out of Nano One Materials Corp. (TSXV: NNO) (“Nano One”) just keep getting bigger; not only has the company secured yet more key patents, but their pilot plant processes have been improved to the extent that it is now thought to be capable of output on a commercial scale. The company’s patented process is able to chemically manufacture materials at the nanoscale which are suitable for the production of cathode units used in lithium ion batteries, a market poised for massive growth over the next ten years as the world moves ever closer to full adoption of electric vehicles.
Specifically, Nano One have worked with Noram Engineering on a series of process improvements that, in the lab, have prompted anticipation of a 100-fold increase to the material throughput of the reactor. This means that the production rate of the existing pilot reactor could be increased from the planned 10 kg/day to as high as 1,400 kg/day. Current commercial production rates for these materials vary from 1,000 to 10,000 kg/day, and moving into this range represents a massive leap forward for the team as well as a significant reduction to capital expenses.
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Demonstration of the new throughput benchmark is expected later this year, and should it be successful, the company can expect commercial adoption of their lithium products to happen very quickly indeed. If nothing else, the recent improvements show that Nano One are more than capable of creating a full-scale plant that can produce 10,000 kg/day of refined product. Crucially, the company’s nanoscale production technology eliminates a multitude of steps from the refinement process, as well as doing away with the tailings that milling and acid leach operations must normally dispose of responsibly and at considerable expense.
According to industry reports, the global market for battery cathode materials is around 500,000 kg/day at present, and this is only going to increase as more and more developing economies adopt technologies that require energy storage solutions. In the developed world, the move away from combustion engines is expected to create such explosive demand for batteries that the mining world has gone completely lithium crazy over the last ten years, and the guys at Nano One promise to disrupt this space entirely by assembling better quality materials cheaper, in less time and with almost no waste products.
At the beginning of July, the company was awarded yet another patent relating to their lithium battery cathode production tech, expanding Nano One’s proprietary position to include the improvements in battery performance provided by the lithium ion cathode materials produced. Batteries produced using this process are far more robust than units produced using current methods, lasting 2-3 times longer. Additionally, these new batteries would store more energy and deliver more power as a result of the finer structure achieved in the cathodes produced using this method.
The repeated good news over the past year had caused a few serious jumps in the company’s share price, and I really feel that this may be the final opportunity to get in on the action before Nano One goes big-league. The ability to cater to a booming market in a way that nobody else can is too good an opportunity to pass up, and the development of commercial scale processing means that shares won’t be trading at only C$1.10 for very long.
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