American Battery Technology Company to partner with Black & Veatch for lithium hydroxide manufacturing facility
American Battery Technology Company has engaged global critical infrastructure solutions leader Black & Veatch in a technical services agreement to support the design, construction, and commissioning of ABTC’s first commercial-scale lithium hydroxide manufacturing facility in Tonopah, Nevada.
The design and construction of this first-of-kind facility, supported by a competitively selected U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant, will commercialize ABTC’s novel process for the manufacturing of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from unconventional Nevada-based lithium-bearing sedimentary resources, and will have the capacity to initially produce 30 kt (33,000 st) of lithium hydroxide per year.
“The successful engineering, procurement, and construction of this first-of-kind facility is critically important to the energy security of the United States, and to support the rapidly growing domestic lithium-ion battery industry,” said ABTC CEO Ryan Melsert. “The selection of Black & Veatch to provide these services is an extremely important decision, and as such we implemented a global competitive search process and received bids from over a dozen of the largest premier construction firms in the world.”
Melsert added, “With Black & Veatch’s immense experience in the global high-purity chemicals manufacturing space, track record of successful on-budget and on-time projects, and significant experience working with government-funded projects, we are extremely fortunate to be able to form this relationship and long-term engagement with such a global leader.”
Black & Veatch has deep expertise in delivering sustainability solutions to clients in the rapidly transforming critical minerals chemical refining space. The company’s chemical refining client segment assists companies in driving down costs, integrating greener approaches, and bolstering efficiencies. Black & Veatch has immense experience with first-of-a-kind engineering (FOAKE) projects and has worked extensively with startups, including 15-20 percent of all Cleantech 100 companies, to bring their visions to reality and transition from concepts to commercialization. With its role in the ABTC Tonopah Flats lithium project, Black & Veatch is demonstrating the transversal skill sets needed to promote and deliver both on decarbonization and electrification.
“Black & Veatch champions efforts to decarbonize the transportation space, and this project reinforces our commitment to environmental sustainability and the promising societal role of electric vehicles (EVs) and broader battery storage applications in pursuit of a greener, more resilient planet,” said Laszlo von Lazar, president of Black & Veatch’s energy and process industries business.
In recent years, demand for domestically produced and sustainably sourced battery metals in the United States has grown exponentially as consumer, corporate, and government entities prioritize the decarbonization of transportation sectors. The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed in the Fall of 2022, includes mechanisms to incentivize EV manufacturers and consumers to purchase EVs that source critical battery metals from domestic manufacturers.
The signing of this technical services agreement marks a major milestone in the commercialization of ABTC’s Tonopah Flats Lithium Project, which will help to provide a domestic supply of critical battery materials needed for the U.S. energy transition, and will do so through the sustainable manufacturing of battery-grade lithium hydroxide. Based on a recent third-party audited analysis and published Inferred Resource Report, the ABTC Tonopah Flats Lithium Project was identified as one of the largest known lithium deposits in the U.S. with an inferred resource of 15.8 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent.
This project is being funded in part by the U.S. DOE and engages several world-class partners throughout private industry, government laboratories, and public universities to optimize and commercialize the next generation of low-cost, low-environmental impact and domestically implemented advanced battery metal manufacturing facilities. In 2021, ABTC, in collaboration with DuPont and the University of Nevada-Reno, was awarded a $4.5-million grant from the DOE to build and operate a multi-ton-per-day demonstration-scale system to accelerate the commercialization and scale-up of this critical battery-grade lithium manufacturing technology. As a result of the early successes of this project, in October 2022 ABTC was selected for an additional competitively awarded U.S. DOE grant for a $115M project funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the construction of this commercial-scale primary lithium hydroxide manufacturing facility.
Photo courtesy of ABTC