Li-Metal, a Canadian developer of lithium metal and lithium metal anode technologies for next-generation batteries, has been awarded over CAD$1.4 million (approx 975,000 euros) from the Government of Ontario to develop and commercialise its lithium metal production technology.
The Canadian company will use the funds, which have been granted by two Ontario government funds, to support the scale-up of its production and refining capabilities for battery-grade lithium metal. Li-Metal says it will also use the funding to advance the piloting of new lithium metal products, such as speciality lithium alloy ingots for next-generation batteries.
Li-Metal says that Lithium alloys have significant potential for improving cycle life and charging/discharging rates, which could make it suitable for a next-generation battery material. The company says the development of alloy products should enhance its ability to support its growing customer network’s “unique needs” as it builds out its product portfolio.
“We are pleased to have been awarded this non-dilutive funding from the Government of Ontario,” said Srini Godavarthy, CEO of Li-Metal. “Li-Metal continues to advance the commercialisation of a patented, cleaner and improved lithium metal production technology to establish ourselves as a domestic supplier of lithium metal for the broader North American market.” He summarised: “We believe these grants further validate the technology we are commercialising and endorse the role that Li-Metal is poised to play in building a next-generation battery supply chain.”
The funding awarded to Li-Metal consists of a CAD$930,826 grant from the R&D Partnership Fund – Electric Vehicle, administered by the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) and a CAD$500,000 grant from the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF), funded by the Ontario Ministry of Mines.
The CMIF supports the development of critical minerals through investments in the domestic battery supply chain, including battery materials production, deep exploration and mining, recovery of minerals and “other innovative projects”. Li-Metal says it will use CMIF funds to advance its lithium metal production technology, which, in turn, should support the development of a next-generation battery supply chain in Canada.
Ontario is also positioning itself not only as a supplier of raw materials but as an automotive hub within Canada. OVIN has the task of promoting the development of advanced automotive technologies in Ontario. IOVIN’s R&D Partnership Fund – Electric Vehicle (Stream 1) aims to support projects related to developing and demonstrating technologies in EVs and battery manufacturing technologies. OVIN sees Li-Metal’s lithium metal technology and production process furthering this aim.
The Government of Ontario launched a Critical Minerals Strategy in March 2022 to position Ontario as a global leader in supplying critical minerals. Canada is already well positioned to supply automotive companies with battery raw materials from recycled and newly mined resources. In August last year, for example, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz signed agreements with the Canadian government to secure access to crucial battery raw materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt. Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen confirmed in a statement that letters of intent were signed in Toronto in the presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Just over a year ago, Li-Metal signed a development and marketing agreement with Bolloré subsidiary Blue Solutions for battery anodes and announced a joint anode production plant.