Green light for Chile battery lab and test facility to boost benefits of lithium production

by Michael Green
Dr Adam Cohen. Photo: AUI
Plans to build a major battery lab and testing facility in Chile – aimed at boosting the benefits of being a key lithium producer – have been given the green light by the country’s economic development agency, Corfo.

US-based non-profit Associated Universities Inc (AUI) was selected to build, manage and operate the new Chilean Clean Technology Institute (ICTL), at Macrozona Norte, in the northern Antofagasta region, which will include the battery testing facility and a pilot battery cell assembly manufacturing line.

The AUI, which will establish a foundation in Macrozona Norte to construct and operate the ICTL, said the project will bring in additional investments, provide Chilean entrepreneurs with the opportunity to build new businesses and "refine and develop resources locally, to develop clean energy and products to fuel a new and more robust economy, and enable Chilean universities to share resources in a fair and open manner throughout the country".

AUI president and CEO Dr Adam Cohen said the ICTL would initially undertake projects related to lithium and copper mining, "but at some point, developments will continue to be made in the manufacture of refined lithium, battery cells, eventually batteries and final goods”.

Nano One showcase

Canadian lithium battery cathode materials producer Nano One, which worked with AUI on the ICTL project, will now showcase its technology in the country.

Nano One CEO Dan Blondal said the company will be demonstrating its patented One Pot process, using lithium carbonate directly for the production of nickel-rich cathode materials.

"Our innovation avoids the need for lithium hydroxide, the costs of the required conversion plants and the associated consumption of water and energy,” Blondal said.

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