JV Article: Platinum Group Metals is at the vanguard of next generation lithium-ion batteries
The rise in the electrical car or truck (EV) current market share of the car or truck industry is fuelling desire for the metals utilized in the lithium-ion batteries that ability them.
However, present-day lithium-ion battery systems undergo from a trade-off amongst electric power and body weight, with EV brands trying to find to increase the energy density of batteries although reducing their weight.
Considerable effort and hard work is now underway to build batteries based on lithium-sulphur and lithium-air chemistries that offer you the possible for substantial increases in power-to-body weight ratios when compared with regular lithium-ion batteries.
Doing the job at the forefront of this effort and hard work is Lion Battery Technologies, which is wanting to rapid-monitor the growth of future-technology lithium-ion battery technologies that use platinum and palladium to boost battery overall performance.
The organization was founded in 2019 by Platinum Team Metals (TSX: PTM NYSE: PLG) in partnership with Anglo American Platinum (US-OTC: ANGPY), a single of the world’s foremost producers of platinum group metals (PGMs). These two PGM miners are now leading the exertion to commercialize subsequent technology lithium-ion battery systems using PGMs.
Presently, about 84% of palladium and 35% of platinum need will come from their use in catalytic converters in gasoline-driven motor vehicles. The shift absent from inner combustion engine-powered automobiles to EVs run by batteries using PGMs “would present a substitution supply of demand for these metals,” suggests Frank Hallam, Platinum Group’s president and CEO.
“Palladium and platinum are exceptional metals that raise chemical reactions but really don’t participate in them and supply the prospective to increase the efficiency of lithium-ion batteries significantly,” he states.
In July 2019, Lion signed an settlement with Florida Worldwide College (FIU) to advance study that employs platinum and palladium to unlock the prospective of up coming-generation lithium-air and lithium-sulphur battery technologies. Lion has exclusive legal rights to the intellectual assets formulated by FIU below this agreement.
Bilal El-Zahab, who leads the study staff establishing the technologies, suggests that batteries centered on these chemistries have a substantially better strength density than conventional lithium-ion batteries. “They can execute up to seven moments greater than the most effective undertaking lithium-ion batteries currently readily available on the sector or in enhancement.”
In accordance to El-Zahab, an associate professor in mechanical and components engineering in the University of Engineering and Computing at FIU, lithium-air and lithium-sulphur batteries “are more affordable to produce and can also substantially maximize the variety and performance of existing lithium-ion batteries.”
He says that applying palladium and platinum catalysts in the cathode of these batteries can considerably strengthen the demand-charge ability of the batteries. “They also allow for the batteries to use additional of their theoretically readily available electrical power whilst protecting against swift potential decay of the battery and strengthening their performance, trustworthiness, and security.”
This sort of batteries, he adds, also offer the probable for strength-to-bodyweight ratios of up to 3 to 7 instances improved than latest battery chemistries can obtain. Presently, lithium-sulphur batteries can achieve strength densities as significant as 750 watt-several hours for every kilogram (Wh/kg) in comparison to 247 Wh/kg for the batteries employed in Tesla automobiles.
Previous July, Lion was granted a third U.S. patent for its battery technological innovation. The patent (“Battery Cathodes for Enhanced Balance) was issued to FIU and covers a preparation system for working with PGM catalysts in carbon products employed in the cathodes, largely of lithium-sulphur batteries.
A further patent software masking the distinct software of PGMs in present lithium-ion chemistries was also a short while ago filed. El-Zahab says that the technological know-how covered by the patent could lengthen the lifetime of the lithium metallic anodes and direct to added bodyweight financial savings by doing away with the have to have for graphite in the anode.
“We’re at the moment in the final levels of the initial investigate and are transitioning from the lab-scale to producing a professional prototype. It is a extremely enjoyable time for us.”
In addition to its investment in Lion, Platinum Team is also advancing the Waterberg PGM venture found on the North Limb of the Bushveld igneous complicated in South Africa, close to 85 km north of Mokopane and 330 km northeast of Johannesburg. The project has the prospective to be one particular of the premier and least expensive-cost underground PGM mines globally.
Waterberg is a joint venture concerning Platinum Group (37.05%), South Africa-based main Impala Platinum Holdings (15%), Japan Oil, Gasoline, and Metals Nationwide Corp. (12.95%), Japanese trading company Hanwa (9.75%), and Black Economic Empowerment lover Mnombo Wethu Consultants (26%). Factoring in Platinum Group’s 49.9% ownership in Mnombo, it has an effective 50.02% interest in the task.
The 292-sq.-km Waterberg mining right has several hugely appealing qualities, claims Hallam. “It gives the opportunity for totally mechanized manufacturing from a minimal-charge, shallow, and bulk mineable operation with sizeable progress possible.”
A definitive feasibility research for Waterberg in 2019 envisioned a mining operation creating 420,000 put together oz. of palladium, platinum, gold, and rhodium each year at continual state about 45 a long time of mine life.
Cash charges were being pegged at US$874 million, with US$233.5 million budgeted for functioning expenditures to realize 70% manufacturing capacity. The research believed the immediately after-tax web current price to be US$982 million, based mostly on an 8% price reduction price and a three-yr common selling price of US$1,055 for each oz. palladium, US$931 for each oz. platinum, US$1,318 for each oz. gold, and US$1,930 for each oz. rhodium. The just after-tax interior charge of return was believed at 13.3%, with a payback period of 11.4 yrs from the start out of design.
The mine plan for Waterberg presented in the feasibility examine aims to exploit quite a few mineralized zones over an 8-km strike length, suggests Hallam. “However, in contrast to lots of other ore bodies in the region that show narrow widths usually less than a few of metres, Waterberg provides mining widths ranging from 5 metres to about 100 metres that enable for a bulk mining procedure.”
Waterberg includes calculated and indicated assets of 242.4 million tonnes grading 2.13 g/t palladium, .98 g/t platinum, .22 g/t gold, and .05 g/t rhodium (3.38 g/t PGMs) for a blended 26.4 million oz. of palladium, platinum, gold, and rhodium. Inferred assets stand at 66.7 million tonnes at 1.92 g/t palladium, .96 g/t platinum, .34 g/t gold, and .04 g/t rhodium (3.27 g/t PGMs) for a put together 7 million oz. of palladium, platinum, gold, and rhodium.
Platinum Team is at the moment doing the job to full concentrate offtake and financing for the challenge. It is also performing on a feasibility examine for a matte furnace as an alternate to a traditional concentrate offtake arrangement and is contemplating an update to the feasibility examine.
The previous Joint Undertaking Short article is PROMOTED Written content sponsored by PLATINUM Team METALS and produced in co-operation with The Northern Miner. Go to www.platinumgroupmetals.internet for far more information.