Platinum Group Metals and subsidiary Lion Battery Technologies report that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a third patent to Florida International University related to platinum group metals being used in lithium batteries.
Specifically, this third patent is related to PGMs in the “Next Generation” Lithium Sulphur Batteries. Under a sponsored research agreement, Lion has exclusive rights to all technology being developed by FIU with Lion funding, including granted patents.
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The new patent was issued on June 15, 2021, entitled “Battery Cathodes for Improved Stability” with patent number US 11,038,160 B2. The patent covers a preparation method using PGM catalysts in carbon materials for use as cathodes with increased emphasis on Lithium Sulphur Batteries. The new patent broadens protection for US patent 10,734,636 B2 issued to FIU on August 4, 2020, covering the composition of carbon cathodes containing PGMs.
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Lithium Sulphur Batteries are well known to have the potential for a significant increase in power to weight ratios over traditional lithium-ion batteries popular in EV applications, such as those utilizing nickel, manganese and cobalt or “NMC” cathodes. One of the challenges in Lithium Sulphur Batteries is getting them to charge and discharge hundreds of times as required in commercial settings.
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Dr. Bilal El-Zahab, the project leader of the Lion Battery work at FIU commented, “We are pleased to receive this important patent for the use of PGMs in Lithium Sulphur Batteries. As outlined in our patent application, we are seeing 2 times capacity retention after 100 cycles using PGMs versus the control group without PGMs. We have observed Lithium Sulphur Batteries with cycling performance at nearly 300 cycles with greater than 70% capacity retention relative to the first cycle. We are still working on optimizing performance and we are working towards 500+ cycles. The initial results are encouraging and indicate that PGMs can bring significant performance improvements to high power to weight Lithium Sulphur Batteries.”
In addition to the above new patent, a further final patent application has also been filed for specific application of PGMs in most lithium batteries, including current lithium-ion chemistries. A PGM bearing separator is showing good promise to extend the life of a lithium metal anode, which for example, may allow for weight savings by the elimination of graphite at the anode.
R. Michael Jones, CEO of Platinum Group said, “Lion’s patents and research work continue to show the potential of PGMs to improve the performance of lithium batteries. PGMs are well known to be good catalysts, encouraging reactions, and a little bit can go a long way. Using PGMs to thrift out other costly and heavy battery components while improving battery performance is the focus of our exciting research.”
Lion is a private company formed jointly in 2019 by Anglo American Platinum Limited, one of the world’s leading primary producers of platinum group metals, and the Company to accelerate the development of next-generation battery technology using platinum and palladium. The Company currently owns 53.7% in Lion. Dr. El-Zahab, with prior battery research and development experience and post-doctoral work completed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the head of the Lion battery research team and was recently appointed to the Board of Lion Battery Technologies Inc.