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Li-Metal produces metal directly from lithium carbonate

The company believes its the first in the world to do so via a patented process

IMAGE: Li-Metal's lithium metal
The first metal produced from lithium carbonate using Li-Metal's patented process. (Courtesy Li-Metal Corp.)

Markham, Ont.-based lithium metal anode developer Li-Metal Corp. says it has become the first company in the world to produce metal from lithium carbonate.

The company was recently granted its first patent for the process, and has an additional 32 applications filed.

Traditionally, lithium metal has been made from lithium chloride, which is made by treating lithium carbonate. By directly using lithium carbonate to produce lithium metal, Li-Metal (LIM-CN) eliminates a step in the process, as well as chlorine gas emissions.

"We are thrilled to have successfully produced lithium metal demonstrating that our patented technology can produce this highly valuable and strategic material," Maciej Jastrzebski, co-founder and CTO of Li-Metal, said in a statement.

"This marks a major milestone for Li-Metal as we work toward scaling our vertically integrated anode production operations. This is an important precursor to establishing commercial scale metal production and we believe it is the foundation for cost-effective and more sustainable lithium metal production in North America."

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office granted all 20 claims Li-Metal made in its patent application, which relates to the production of refined lithium metal from a lithium chemical feedstock using an electrowinning apparatus. Electrowinning is a process by which metals are recovered from a solution using an electrolytic chemical reaction.

Currently, about 3,000 tonnes per year of battery-grade lithium metal are produced globally, with more than 90 per cent of that production concentrated in China, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. By 2030, the demand is projected to top 21,000 tonnes per year to support the production of next-generation batteries.

Cleo signs Videotron agreement

Cleo, a Hydro-Québec subsidiary specializing in electric-vehicle fleet charging, has signed an agreement to help optimize the vehicle fleet performance for telecommunications company Videotron.

Cleo’s platform gives each electric vehicle enough charge for its route while lessening power demand at the charging site, which helps reduce the company's energy costs.

"Cleo is proud to work with Videotron to ensure optimal and dynamic charging for its fleet. We are delighted to help the company fully benefit from the advantages of electrifying its fleet by applying energy efficiency principles,” Jeff Desruisseaux, Cleo’s CEO, said in a statement.

“This collaboration perfectly aligns with our mission to support fleet operators from all sectors to successfully navigate their transition."

The companies will explore opportunities to reduce energy consumption during peak periods for these types of operations, to limit the impact of large electric vehicle fleets on the Hydro-Québec grid.

Videotron is a subsidiary of Québecor Media Inc. As of March, it had approximately 1.3 million cable television subscribers and 1.6 million internet subscribers across Quebec.

Exro signs agreement with Linamar

Calgary-based Exro Technologies Inc. has signed an agreement with global tier 1 automotive supplier Linamar Corp.

The agreement follows successful testing and validation by Linamar (LNR-T) of the companies’ co-developed integrated electric axle, known as the eAxle. It utilizes Exro's Coil Driver traction inverter and signals a commitment to commercialize the product for multi-year series production.

"We are thrilled to achieve this next major milestone with Linamar. The signing of the definitive agreement demonstrates steady progress with a leading tier-1 OEM supplier, further validates the potential of our technology, and signals to shareholders an opportunity for a material increase in production volume in the years ahead,” Exro's (EXRO-T) CEO Sue Ozdemir said in a statement.

"Linamar has been a great partner and we look forward to advancing this combined product to commercialization."

About two years ago, Exro and Linamar set out to co-develop the eAxle with Coil Driver technology.

In a traditional powertrain, the motor and inverter live in separate housings on the vehicle chassis. An eAxle combines an electric vehicle's motor, gears and inverter into the drive axle, providing fleets an opportunity to reduce maintenance and energy consumption, costs and complexity.

Exro first provided 800-volt Coil Driver samples to Linamar in Q4 2022. 

The agreement is for a five-year term. By Q4 2023 the companies plan to build a demonstration vehicle with the eAxle product, as a joint marketing asset. Series production on the eAxle is expected to begin in late 2024.

Dcbel secures Volvo funding

Montreal-based smart home energy company dcbel has acquired funding from Volvo's corporate venture capital arm, the Volvo Cars Tech Fund.

Dcbel’s home energy management system, r16, will automate all energy management decisions involving the electric vehicle. This includes automated charging, vehicle-to-home peak shaving when utility rates are high, blackout protection immediately following a power outage and vehicle-to-grid export optimized based on demand.

No funding amounts were disclosed.

"Volvo Cars and dcbel share the same values: safety, sustainability and the pursuit of technological advancement," Marc-Andre Forget, CEO of dcbel, said in a statement. "We are proud to have been selected by Volvo Cars and excited to play an important role in their mission to fully electrify their fleet."

In his own statement, the fund’s CEO Alexander Petrofski highlighted the importance of bi-directional technology.

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