It is the battle of the battery chemistries and lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) is tipped to take out lithium-manganese-cobalt-oxide (NMC) when it comes to the stationary storage market.

LFP is predicted to become the chemistry of choice in energy storage systems (ESS), with predictions it will reach more than 30 per cent market share by 2030.

At the same time, NMC is set to decline from about 75 per cent of the ESS market in 2020 to roughly 30 per cent in 2030, according to research from Wood Mackenzie.

The move toward LFP technology, which currently accounts for 10 per cent of the market, is driven by demand for longer duration battery life in electric vehicles (EV).

“Improvements in gravimetric energy density combined with cell-to-pack technology is the key to LFP now becoming a more attractive proposition in the passenger EV space,” Wood Mackenzie senior research analyst Milan Thakore said.


Lithium-iron-phosphate batteries more abundant

Also, supply availability is better for LFP batteries than for NMC, which traditionally has been used in energy storage systems.

“While there was a shortage of NMC batteries in the storage market, there were plenty of LFP batteries available – with capacity mostly in China,” Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Mitalee Gupta said.

Gupta added that LFP vendors began tapping into NMC constrained markets at competitive prices, thus making LFP batteries an attractive option for power and energy uses.

Changing performance priorities for battery consumers such as high recycling capabilities will also drive moves to LFP batteries, in addition to traditional cost and safety concerns.

“EVs will continue to make the lion’s share of global lithium-ion battery demand over the next 10 years,” Gupta said.

“Demand from portable electronics will see a significant drop from 26 per cent to 6 per cent in 2030, as both EVs and energy storage systems markets begin to take off.”

Meanwhile, the lithium price is still trading in a steady range this week at $US7.25/kg ($10.03/kg) 99.5 per cent basis CIF China, Japan and Korea, according to the London Metal Exchange.

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) said European subsidies for EVs had turned lithium market sentiment positive.


Prospect completes offtake for Zimbabwe lithium project

Zimbabwe-focused lithium company Prospect Resources (ASX:PSC) has acquired an off-take customer for its Arcadia lithium project.

Belgian company Sibelco, Europe’s largest distributor of ultra-low iron petalite (a lithium-bearing mineral), has agreed to buy 100,000 dry tonnes per year of concentrate product from Prospect over a seven-year period.

The deal means that Prospect has sold 100 per cent of Arcadia’s petalite production for the first seven years of operation.

“Once in production, Prospect is expected to be the largest ultra-low iron petalite producer in the world,” managing director Sam Hosack said Monday.

Prospect’s share price has risen to 24c this week from 16c last week.

Prospect Resources (ASX:PSC) share price chart


Drilling confirms significance of Golden Swan discovery

Prices for another battery metal, nickel, are trading at a nine-month high of $US14,548 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange, up from its March low of $US11,055 per tonne.

Poseidon Nickel (ASX:POS) reported positive results including 9m at 10.45 per cent nickel from drilling at its Golden Swan discovery beneath the Black Swan open pit in WA’s Goldfields region.

“The latest assay and drill results confirm the significance of the Golden Swan discovery. The thick, high-grade nickel intersections in combination with favourable geological setting is pointing to something very exciting,” managing director and CEO Peter Harold said.

Drilling intersected two separate mineralised zones for nickel sulphides and extends the known mineralisation for Golden Swan over 130m.

Poseidon Nickel shares touched a 10-month high of 5.3c in Tuesday trading.