PGMs to play a greater role in lithium-ion battery development, says PTM

latinum and palladium producer Platinum Group Metals (PTM) believes platinum-group metals (PGMs) will start to play a greater role in the development of more efficient lithium-ion batteries.

PTM recently partnered with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) to launch a new venture, Lion Battery Technologies, to investigate the benefits of adding PGMs to battery technology.

The venture is 52% owned by PTM and 48% by Amplats.

The companies are backing a researcher at the Florida International University who found that lithium oxygen and lithium sulphur batteries can perform better with the addition of PGMs, which can increase a battery’s energy density.

PTM CEO R Michael Jones says the company has since filed several patents and is getting to a more advanced stage, where the likelihood of making the leap to battery chemistry and lithium-ion batteries “looks promising”.

The first batteries of this kind are likely to go to China, he adds, as the country has made a lot of advancements in the use of fuel cells in trucks.

PTM is currently developing its Waterberg project, in South Africa, which is predominantly palladium and has 19.5-million ounces of proven and probable reserves, Jones says.