Neometals Buys Into Fast-Charging Battery Technology

Neometals continues to lead from the front in the evolving battery-chain supply network, sinking US$500,000 into private US battery start-up, Tyfast Energy Corp. A spin-off from the University of California, San Diego, Tyfast is the keeper of a proprietary vanadium-based anode technology set to drastically reduce charging times without compromising the high-energy density found in state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries. Demonstrating its confidence in the cutting-edge technology, Neometals’ investment is by way of a convertible note providing the company the option to acquire a minority equity stake in Tyfast down the track.
Tyfast was founded in early 2021 by CEO Dr GJ la O’, chief technology officer Dr Haodong Liu and chief science officer professor Ping Liu.
Specialists in nanoengineering, Tyfast’s founding trio discovered a new anode material that enables lithium-ion batteries to be safely recharged in as little as three-minutes whilst also extending the life of the battery by 20-fold – or up to 20,000 cycles.
According to the University, the new anode material is lithium, vanadium and oxygen atoms and it delivers both high-energy density and high power, both critical factors for lithium-ion batteries in the production of electric vehicles.
Management at Neometals says a total of US$1m was raised by Tyfast in the latest financing round, with funds earmarked to scale up commercialisation of the breakthrough battery technology. Tyfast is seeking to develop its vanadium anode technology as a viable alternative to the more commonly used graphite anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
The graphite anode is extremely energy dense and can power a car for hundreds of kilometres without needing to be recharged. However, recharging a graphite anode too quickly can result in fire and explosions due to a process called lithium metal plating. The vanadium anode safely reduces recharging times 20-fold, dramatically increasing its commercial application in the electric vehicle industry.
Whilst Neometals’ investment into Tyfast will go a long way towards developing the new vanadium-based anode technology, the strategic venture will no doubt pay dividends as Neometals gears towards production of a high-purity vanadium compound from its vanadium recovery project located in Finland.
Under a 2020 recycling agreement with unlisted Scandinavian mineral development company Critical Metals Ltd, Neometals has the ability to enter into a 50:50 joint venture to process the vanadium-rich steel-making by-product generated by the leading Scandinavian steel maker, SSAB.
Neometals tabled a cracking pre-feasibility study, or ‘PFS’ on the Finland blueprint early last year.
Headline numbers in the PFS were total free-cash flows before tax of US$764 million, or an average of about US$72.7 million a year across an initial plant operating life of 10.5 years.
Other key metrics in Neometals’ pre-feasibility study are a CAPEX of $US183.4 million, a capital payback period of less than four years, a pre-tax net present value of $US230.5 million and an internal rate of return of 31.2 per cent.
According to Deloitte, the electric vehicle sector is expected to swell at an annual compound growth rate of around 29 per cent in the next decade and Neometal’s latest movements look to be aimed at satisfying the global demand for battery metals via an alternative source to mining.
As global economies work towards achieving net zero emissions, with rising interest in cleaner energy solutions, Neometals looks to be positioning itself at the tip of the energy revolution spear in the lithium-ion battery supply chain.