Home » Platinum Group Metals Power New Advances in EV Battery Tech

Platinum Group Metals Power New Advances in EV Battery Tech

Palladium and Platinum Set to Transform Electric Vehicle Batteries

by Adenike Adeodun

On April 16, 2024, Platinum Group Metals, a company set at the forefront of mining innovation in South Africa’s Waterberg region, announced a significant advancement in battery technology, showcasing the potential role of palladium and platinum in enhancing the energy efficiency and reducing the weight of battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Currently, these precious metals are not utilized in BEV battery systems, but new research suggests this could change dramatically.

Elevating Battery Performance with Platinum and Palladium

The research update delivered by Platinum Group Metals, which is dual-listed in New York and Toronto, was part of a broader emphasis by South Africa’s platinum group metals (PGM) mining industry to develop markets for these metals in new technologies. Amidst these developments, the company is focused on creating prototypes for potential commercialization within the year.

In collaboration with Anglo American Platinum, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Platinum Group Metals co-founded Lion Battery Technologies. This venture aims to revolutionize lithium battery applications by integrating palladium and platinum. Their ambitious target is to develop batteries that not only enhance specific energies by 20% to 100% over existing technologies but also match or surpass current battery life cycles.

Advancing Lithium Air and Lithium Sulphur Chemistries

Lion Battery’s partnership with Florida International University has been pivotal in advancing the use of platinum and palladium in lithium-air and lithium sulphur battery chemistries. These enhancements are expected to significantly increase discharge capacities and cyclability, marking a significant step towards their widespread adoption in BEVs.

Furthermore, the Battery Innovation Center in Newberry, Indiana, has been instrumental in accelerating the commercialization efforts. The center is tasked with conducting independent trials on small and large scales to validate Lion’s proprietary electrode compositions, slurry, and films, which are crucial components in both lithium sulphur and lithium-ion cells.

Potential Impact on Electric Vehicles

Dr. Bilal El-Zahab, the lead researcher at Lion Battery Technologies, confidently stated that these advancements could substantially increase the energy density of batteries, which would translate into more kilowatt-hours per kilogram for EVs. This improvement is critical as it addresses one of the main limitations of current BEV batteries—energy density and weight.

Moreover, the use of PGM-based nanoparticles as catalysts in these batteries has shown great promise in enhancing battery performance, potentially offering a rapid solution to some of the enduring challenges faced by battery technologies today.

Waterberg Project: A Strategic Development

Simultaneously, Platinum Group Metals continues to advance the Waterberg project, a prospective mine planned for mechanized, shallow, decline access extraction of palladium, platinum, gold, and rhodium. Located in the PGM-rich Bushveld Complex of South Africa, the project is moving towards a development and construction decision.

In April, Waterberg JV Resources approved a $ 1.35 million budget for stage four of the project to continue the ongoing work programs while finalizing the update to the definitive feasibility study. This budget is part of a larger, two-year $21-million pre-construction work plan aimed at bringing the project to fruition.

Global Outreach and Cooperation

Expanding its global footprint, the company has entered into a cooperation agreement with Ajlan & Bros Mining and Metals to explore the establishment of a standalone PGM smelter and base metal refinery in Saudi Arabia. This study aims to diversify the sources of PGM concentrate, which could include the Waterberg project’s output, thus minimizing dependency on a single project and enhancing the strategic importance of the initiative.

The Japan Organisation for Metals and Energy Security has also shown interest by establishing HJ Platinum Metals, a special purpose company to hold and fund their equity interests in the Waterberg project.

Community and Stakeholder Engagement

As it navigates these developments, Platinum Group Metals remains committed to engaging with regional and local communities. The company’s efforts are geared towards ensuring that all stakeholders realize optimal benefits from the project, as evidenced by the narrowed net loss of $2.37 million reported for the six months ending in February 2024.

The role of palladium and platinum in next-generation battery technologies could be transformative for the electric vehicle industry. With Platinum Group Metals at the helm of these developments, the future of energy-efficient and lighter BEVs looks promising, not just for the company but for the global shift towards sustainable transportation solutions.


Source: Mining Weekly

You may also like

Leave a Comment

The African Miner is the vanguard of the mining industry, delivering world-class insight and news.

Latest Stories

© 2024 The African Miner. All Rights Reserved.