Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL) has signed a binding lithium hydroxide offtake agreement with Umicore, a leader in cathode materials production as part of its  Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project in the Upper Rhine Valley region of Germany.

The agreement is for an initial five-year term ahead of commercial delivery set for 2025. Shares in the company rose by around 6% in morning trade following the announcement.

Over the duration of the agreement, Umicore will purchase a minimum of 28,000 tonnes and a maximum of 42,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide from Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL) with pricing to be based on market prices on a take-or-pay basis.

In Nysa, Poland, Umicore has built the first cathode materials plant in Europe, which is expected to start production at the end of 2021 with materials anticipated to be sold to battery cell makers who produce the batteries for electric vehicles.

Umicore has a net zero emission Greenhouse Gas (GHG) goal by 2035, part of its “Go to Zero” initiative, and its European cathode plant will be carbon neutral as of the start of production.

Vulcan now has a diversified mix of offtakers from the cathode, battery, and automotive sectors following agreements signed with LG Energy Solutions on July 19 and top automotive player Renault Group on August 2.


Hazer’s commercial demonstration plant poised for commissioning in 2022

Hazer Group Ltd says further schedule disruption due to COVID-19 delays remains an ongoing risk for its commercial demonstration plant (CDP) – a 100 tons per annum, low emission hydrogen production facility at the Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Western Australia.

In its latest September quarterly, the company highlighted that while civil construction activities has progressed well with deep foundations, trenching and main underground cabling activities completed, COVID-19 related disruptions to mill schedules have delayed the fabrication, and supply of high temperature materials required for the main reactor vessels, heat exchangers and piping.

Shipping schedules for these materials have also been affected by extreme weather conditions between China and Australia.

The impacts of these delays are still being fully evaluated, the company said, with expectations that project commission for the CDP will kick off in Q1 2022 rather than December 2021.

Hazer said: “The company is seeking to mitigate this by expediting the delivery of materials and equipment into Australia as early as possible and using local services for the detailed fabrication of the key reactor module and high temperature heat exchangers.”


Low-emission technologies and decarbonisation opportunities

While interest in low-emission technologies continues to be strong across Europe, Asia and North America, with focus remaining on accelerating national decarbonisation plans and climate change on a global scale, the company said it has seen an “increased engagement” with Hazer about the potential to apply the Hazer technology in a range of scenarios.

The company said a particular emphasis has been on the role its Hazer technology could play in the future decarbonisation of heavy industry, such as steel mills and other large scale manufacturing industries.

Hazer said it is in various stages of discussion – from enquiry, exchange of confidentiality agreements and various levels of due diligence, with more than 20 major international companies across Europe, japan, Asia North America and Australia.

“These discussions are continuing, with the aim to progress towards securing the first generation of commercial opportunities to build on the platform and learnings established by the CDP.”

Derby hospital solar contract to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 334 tonnes

A contract to install rooftop solar at the Derby Hospital in Western Australia’s Kimberley region has been awarded to two West Kimberley companies as part of the WA Recovery Plan – a $5.5 billion plan outlining how the state will bounce back from the impacts of COVID-19.

The 364-kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar system will supply around 40 per cent of the hospital’s energy requirements and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 334 tonnes annually.

Generators and Off-Grid Energy together with construction specialists H&M Tracey Construction have been awarded the contract to design and install the system.