Making Iron Feed for
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) Batteries
The future market for lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries looks to be huge. For most vehicle applications, they are now the preferred type of lithium-ion batteries for many electric vehicle manufacturers (including Tesla, Ford, and most Chinese carmakers such as SAIC & BYD). They are safer, last longer, are less expensive, have fewer supply-chain challenges, and pose fewer environmental care challenges than competing NCM and NCA lithium-ion batteries. Indeed, if Two Planet Steel succeeds, then supplying the iron feed for LFP batteries will also clean up some of the largest industrial waste sites on the planet.
Two Planet Steel can deliver iron feed for LFP battery manufacture. Here are the main parts of our flowsheet:
Here are the significant points:
Preferred Input Feeds:
For small-scale production, the preferred feeds are inexpensive iron powders such as cast iron powder.
For large-scale production, the preferred input feed is partially reduced bauxite residue, an industrial toxic waste with high iron content. Other preferred inputs are recyclable ferrous scrap metal, other wastes with high iron content, and reduced limonitic laterite.
FIC and MusVaP:
A new process called FIC (fast iron carbonylation) is under development at Two Planet Steel. FIC extracts iron and nickel from mixed material feeds. FIC is a core technology of Two Planet Steel's material processing.
A pilot-scale implementation of FIC and the rest of the Two Planet Steel flowsheet will readily convert off-the-shelf cast iron powder into high-purity iron (III) oxide powder with an extreme specific surface area (> 12 m2/g), that is, the standard desired iron feed of LFP battery manufacturers.
Variants of the standard LFP feed powder are possible, including mixture powders containing high purity iron, iron (III) oxide, and graphitic carbon, all with extreme specific surface areas, also powders with variations in particle size and shape.
FIC will do more. FIC will enable multi-step, value-adding processing (MusVaP) of mixed input feeds, like bauxite residue and limonitic laterite, at large scales.
FIC-enabled MusVaP implemented on bauxite residue will add value many times over while producing the standard desired iron feed of LFP battery manufacturers and many other products and intermediate concentrates.
FIC-enabled MusVaP implemented on bauxite residue cleans up toxic waste, improves local water safety, and transforms waste sites (most close to urban and suburban areas) back into land that can either be put to urban use, made into parks, or given over to local wildlife.
The environmental and land-use benefits, the high value of and large markets for iron feed for LFP batteries, and the other products of MusVaP of bauxite residue will make a compelling cost and benefits case for implementing FIC and MusVaP at large scales.
Two Planet Steel is currently seeking funding from the US federal government to demonstrate FIC-enabled MusVaP on cast iron powders, and bauxite residue feeds at a small pilot scale.
At this time, expressions of interest in FIC-enabled MusVaP from potential future suppliers, customers of iron feed for LFP batteries, and other stakeholders are of primary interest to Two Planet Steel. Timely expressions of interest pointed toward obtaining federal funding for Two Planet Steel R & D will lead to favored future dealings with Two Planet Steel.
June 6th, 2022