TSX- and NYSE-listed Platinum Group Metals (PTM) and its subsidiary Lion Battery Technologies reports that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a second patent to Florida International University (FIU) related to the use of platinum group metals (PGMs) in lithium batteries.
Lion is a private company that was established in 2019 by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and PTM to accelerate the development of next-generation battery technology using platinum and palladium.
PTM notes on its website that, as a result of their higher energy density, lithium oxygen and lithium sulphur batteries can perform better than lithium-ion batteries currently available on the market. It highlights their potential use in battery electric vehicles, as well as other applications.
Under a sponsored research agreement, Lion has exclusive rights to all technology being developed by FIU with Lion funding, including granted patents.
The new patent, Battery Cathodes for Improved Stability with patent number US 10,862,103 B2 was issued on December 8, 2020. It covers a preparation method using PGM catalysts in carbon materials for use as cathodes in lithium batteries, including lithium-ion, lithium-air, and 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. Both patents are assigned to FIU and licensed by Lion.
“We are pleased to receive the second, broader method patent for our research work and we are excited about our new innovations having potential application to most current, state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery chemistry on the market,” says FIU project leader Dr Bilal El Zahab.
In addition to the new patent, a further provisional patent application has also been filed for specific application of PGMs in most lithium batteries, including current lithium-ion chemistries.
As a result of the advancement in PGM battery research work conducted by FIU and Lion, PTM and Amplats have each approved additional investment in Lion.
After this further investment, PTM will own a 53.7% interest in Lion.
PTM CEO Michael Jones notes that PGMs have many applications in green technologies, including cleaner emissions equipment for internal combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cell applications for power generation in cars and trucks, and now the potential to improve the performance of battery electric vehicles.
“It makes sense that PGMs can play an important role in innovative energy technology as we seek more efficient energy reactions.”
He adds that this is what palladium, platinum and rhodium do. “They are powerful catalysts that accelerate chemical reactions. The potential of PGMs in batteries is obvious; it stares at us from the periodic table.”
Under the sponsored research agreement, research and patent applications are being funded in battery innovations using platinum and palladium to unlock the potential of higher power to weight ratios in new-generation lithium-air and lithium-sulphur battery chemistries. This work may now potentially have application to most commercial lithium batteries.