The mineral processing company Green Lithium has secured a £631,000 grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre's (APC) Automotive Transformation Fund Feasibility Studies (ATF FS2) to support its plan to build Europe's first large-scale lithium refinery in the UK.

Currently, there is no commercial lithium refining capability of scale in Europe, leaving the continent's rapidly growing electric vehicle and sustainable energy storage sectors reliant on China for its battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

Green Lithium aims to fill the missing link in the electric vehicle supply chain, using what it describes as its ‘sustainable and low-carbon refining process’ to connect the UK's and Europe's lithium battery and cell manufacturers with international sources of lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate.

This major new lithium refining hub will be critical in accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and meeting governmental net-zero targets.

It is projected that the UK and European electric vehicle industries will require 1.4 million tonnes of refined battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate per year by 2030, meaning growth of more than 400% in supply is needed over the next 10 years. However, that demand will not be met by the refining capacity that is currently available or planned.

Richard Taylor, founding director at Green Lithium, said: ‘The electric revolution is fundamental to reducing the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

‘However, in order to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and meet net-zero targets, we need to increase and diversify the supply of low-carbon, battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate.

‘By providing the missing link in the supply chain, Green Lithium aims to become the gateway to, and critical enabler for, the UK and European electric vehicle market. We are committed to achieving a carbon net-zero operation, targeting 2030, and providing a secure, local, low-carbon source of refined battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate with 100% traceability for the lithium-ion battery industry.’

Julian Hetheringon, automotive transformation director at the APC, commented: ‘As part of the second round of feasibility study funding by the Automotive Transformation Fund, we are pleased to award Green Lithium with a grant of £631,000.

‘This funding is a great start in supporting companies like Green Lithium as they advance their future product development and manufacturing processes for a future net-zero vehicle supply chain.’