Commodities related to lithium-ion batteries will no doubt see an increase in demand in the near future, and Tesla Motors' (NASDAQ:TSLA) decision to locate its gigafactory in Nevada brought that into the spotlight again this month. One company that could benefit from an expected rise in demand is Nemaska Lithium (TSXV:NMX), which is taking a vertically integrated approach by simultaneously developing its processing technologies, Hydromet processing plant and 100-percent-owned Whabouchi hard-rock spodumene deposit, all located in Quebec. Recent developments At the end of August, the company published two key patent applications: one for its proprietary process for producing lithium hydroxide directly from hard-rock spodumene, and the other for producing lithium carbonate. Speaking to Lithium Investing News, Jean Francois Magnan, technical manager for Nemaska Lithium, was very positive on the news. Traditionally, lithium carbonate is produced from spodumene and hydroxide is produced afterwards, not the other way around. However, Magnan believes that Nemaska stands to benefit from its unique approach as lithium hydroxide is preferable for lithium-ion battery manufacturers. Hydroxide vs. carbonate In a nutshell, lithium hydroxide is used to produce the cathode material for lithium-ion batteries. There are several types of cathodes for such batteries, including nickel-cobalt-aluminum oxide (NCA), widely used in electric vehicles, or nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide (NMC). Some lithium-ion battery manufacturers may use lithium carbonate as an alternative, but due to the high nickel content in cathode materials such as NCA and NMC, producers of those cathodes can only use high-quality lithium hydroxide. Furthermore, those who use lithium carbonate largely prefer the material because it's usually less expensive. However, if companies were able to get their hands on lithium hydroxide with a predictable price, they could easily make the switch without having to buy any new equipment.