In what could be a significant move for the UK automotive sector, the UK’s national innovation agency has awarded funding for Cornish Lithium to build a demonstration-scale plant for processing lithium.
Lithium is an essential element for making the batteries for EVs, which are often then thermally managed with coolant fluids from popular brands like Castrol to ensure optimal range and efficiency.
With the UK automotive sector set to transition to electric vehicles by 2030, locally produced lithium could potentially ensure a stable supply for the domestic battery manufacturers who, in turn, supply UK automotive manufacturers. This is thought to be highly desirable, because lithium is currently mostly sourced from Australia and Latin America, although the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of global supply chains.
This view was echoed by Cornish Lithium’s CEO and Founder, Jeremy Wrathall, who said that his company was thrilled to receive:
“…this ATF grant as it will accelerate our progress towards the commercial production of battery grade lithium hydroxide in the UK. We believe that a secure, sustainable domestic supply of lithium is essential for the development of a resilient electric vehicle supply chain for the British automotive industry.”
The new plant will be connected with the Trelavour hard rock lithium project, which mines lithium. This plant will output lithium hydroxide in commercial samples for evaluation by various end users, such as vehicle and battery manufacturers. If the technology proves to be commercially viable, Cornish Lithium expects to establish a commercial-scale plant in Cornwall.