Platinum Group Metals Wins Critical Patent For Lithium-Sulphur Battery Tech

Platinum Group Metals PLG has received a new patent on technology aimed to accelerate the development of “next generation” lithium-sulphur batteries and is also researching ways to use its proprietary technology to boost the performance of the lithium-ion batteries that power most of the electric vehicles produced today.

What To Know: The Vancouver company said Wednesday this is the third patent it's secured in relation to using PGM catalysts at the cathode to enhance battery performance. PGMs, or platinum group metals, include platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium and ruthenium -- metals known for purity, high melting points and unique catalytic properties.

Platinum Group Metals developed by the company’s Lion Battery Inc. research subsidiary and Florida International University. The patent was granted June 15, broadening previous protection of technology patented last August.

Why It's Important: While not as broadly publicized as lithium-ion batteries, lithium-sulphur batteries are seen as having the potential for a significant increase in power to weight ratios over traditional lithium-ion batteries popular in EV applications, including vehicles built by Tesla Inc. TSLA, Ford Motor Co. F and other automakers. Lithium-sulphur batteries face a hurdle when it comes to charging and discharging hundreds of times as required in commercial settings.

Lion Battery Technologies is also focused on lithium-air batteries, which achieve near-parity with the energy density of gasoline and close to the maximum energy density for a battery.

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”We are still working on optimizing performance,” Dr. Bilal El-Zahab, the project leader of the Lion Battery work at FIU, said in a statement. “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 its new patent, a further patent application has also been filed for application of PGMs in most lithium batteries, including current lithium-ion chemistries.

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