Phil Baker has worked in the light metals industries for some 40 years. His extensive experience includes aluminium, magnesium, and titanium where he has been involved in feasibility studies, process optimization, project engineering, and commissioning. He has developed designs for casting machines and molten metal treatment and handling systems for magnesium and aluminium at global locations including US, Israel, Russia, Canada, and China. Most recently Phil was the technical manager for the QSLIC primary magnesium plant now undergoing commissioning in Qinghai. Phil recently completed a study for the technical and capacity upgrade of an electrolytic lithium metal production facility in Sichuan China.
Making Lithium Metal
Lithium metal commonly impacts our everyday lives because we use long life batteries, fly in modern aircraft, and drive cars. And while these markets are growing they are not growing at the same rate as the demand for lithium compounds used in Li-ion batteries. With a global production of less than 10,000 t/y, a typical lithium metal plant can be confused with a large pilot plant. Nevertheless, electrolysis is fun and the unusual properties of lithium metal make for interesting engineering challenges. Hatch is currently involved in the development of new process technologies with Tianqi and will use these to upgrade their existing Sichuan smelter.