“Through the successful transformation of achievements, the operation of the project will realize the short process, low cost and green preparation of high nickel ternary lithium battery precursor materials in China.” Recently, Qu Jingkui, the project leader of “laterite nickel ore preparation technology and engineering demonstration of new nickel based materials” and a researcher of the Institute of Process Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (hereinafter referred to as the Institute of Process Engineering), told the Science and Technology Daily.
As an important strategic resource in China, the demand for nickel has been increasing in recent years, and the price has also continued to rise. But at present, nearly half of China’s nickel demand depends on imports. With the rapid development of the new energy vehicle industry, the demand for nickel, cobalt and other necessary raw materials for the preparation of power batteries will continue to grow rapidly in the future.
This project is supported by the Science and Technology Service Network Program (STS Program) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “The project uses nickel-based minerals as raw materials and the constant pressure leaching process to prepare the nickel-cobalt manganese solution into the cathode precursor material of NCM ternary lithium battery and high-purity nickel, nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate, cobalt metal, nickel hydroxide and other products.” Qu Jingkui introduced.
The process institute cooperates with Hengshui High-tech Zone while conducting scientific research and transformation. Since May 2018, the nickel-based new material project has completed the project approval and construction and the 100-ton scale expansion test. In April this year, it put into trial run and opened up the process flow, realizing continuous and stable operation. The produced nickel plate, cobalt plate, ternary material, single crystal superalloy, etc. have been certified by the national authoritative testing agency, and have reached the relevant national standards.
Qu Jingkui said, “Compared with the traditional pyrometallurgical process, the hydrometallurgical process adopted in the project has the advantages of less investment, low cost, short process and clean process, and no three wastes discharge. The cost of the new process is 20% lower than that of the traditional process.”
Qu Jingkui said that after the successful pilot run, the project of processing 500000 tons of lateritic nickel ore annually to prepare nickel-based new materials will be launched. It is expected that the industrial production line will be completed in 2022, with an output value of nearly 1.6 billion yuan and profits and taxes of 500 million yuan.