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Hopes rise for platinum, palladium use in batteries as commercialisation trialling steps up

Platinum Group Metals CEO Frank Hallam.

Platinum Group Metals CEO Frank Hallam.

21st June 2023

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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JOHANNESBURG ( – Hopes are rising for the commercialisation of batteries that are boosted by the inclusion of platinum and palladium following the engagement of an innovation centre to drive the next generation of battery chemistries to market.

Collaboration between Florida International University-linked Lion Battery Technologies of the US and the Battery Innovation Center of Newberry, Indiana, will include creating prototypes for commercialisation consideration next year.

Lion's target is to develop batteries with specific energies that are 20% to 100% higher than current technologies while matching or beating present cycle lives.

Established four years ago by the Toronto- and New York-listed Platinum Group Metals (PTM) and the Johannesburg-listed Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Lion has been developing the next-generation battery technology using platinum and palladium since 2019.

Amplats has the Mogalakwena, Amandelbult and Mototolo platinum group metal (PGM) operations in South Africa’s Bushveld Complex, and the North American PTM, headed by CEO Frank Hallam, is the discoverer and operator of a bulk underground PGMs deposit in South Africa’s Waterberg, which is being developed with joint venture partners Impala Platinum, Mnombo Wethu Consultants, Japan Organisation for Metals and Energy Security, and Hanwa.

Successful commercialisation would mean the extension of PGMs beyond use in the exhaust systems of internal combustion engines and ensuring the zero-emission advantage of fuel cell electric vehicles, to also making an energy-enhancing and weight-reducing entry into battery electric vehicles.

Since inception, the Lion team has focused on the development of proprietary lithium sulphur technology and enhancing the performance of existing commercial lithium-ion or NMC chemistries. Lion has a sponsored research agreement with Florida International University, including exclusive rights to intellectual property developed and will lead the commercialisation efforts.  

On top of that, the Battery Innovation Center will now collaborate with commercial enterprises, universities, government agencies, and industry leaders to focus on the rapid development, testing and commercialisation of safe, reliable and lightweight energy storage systems for commercial and defence customers.

The mission of the Battery Innovation Center is to accelerate innovation in the field of battery technology by providing access to the entire spectrum of research and development to commercialisation, including low volume production, in a single 40 000 square foot facility.

Under an agreed scope of work, the Battery Innovation Center – which works with clients including BrightVolt, Rolls Royce, DuPont, Valvoline, GE Global Research, and Cummins – is to conduct independent small-scale and large-scale trials to validate Lion's PGMs-based electrode composition, slurry, and films in lithium-sulphur and lithium-ion coin and pouch cells.

Research at Lion is led by Dr Bilal El-Zahab and Dr Wan Si Tang who is the advanced battery manufacturing team leader at the Battery Innovation Center.

“We’re excited to collaborate and support the endeavour for next generation lithium-related battery chemistries toward higher technology readiness levels," Tang stated in a release to Mining Weekly.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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