A new battery design invented by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences could help overcome issues limiting the life and safety of lithium batteries. The findings by the Chinese researchers are fanning the expectations of demand for lithium in an already undersupplied market.
THE DENDRITE SOLUTION
Lithium-ion batteries, while very reliable and popular for consumer electronics have their own imperfections related to safety and deterioration of battery capacity over time. The main culprit in both issues is dendrite formation. Dendrites, which build up over time inside the battery cells, can cause battery fires and were in fact one of the issues that were identified as the cause of Galaxy Note 7 spontaneous combustion in 2016.
A new battery design invented by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences could help overcome this problem. The researchers have come up with a lithium-metal battery design, which is capable of suppressing dendrite formation, hence creating safer and longer lasting batteries. The new design also eliminates a common conundrum that afflicts conventional battery configurations. Existing methods to reduce dendrite growth often lead to resistance at the electrode/electrolyte interface and vice versa. This new method can deal with the two problems at the same time.
SOLID DATA FROM TESTS
In comparative tests conducted by the researchers, it was found that after 1750 hours of charging and discharging, conventional Li-ion batteries had rough morphologies that indicate dendrite formation. On the other hand, batteries made using the asymmetrical electrolyte showed no morphological changes after 3200 hours of the same treatment. This indicates that the latter configuration had been successful in preventing dendrite growth.
GREATER LITHIUM DEMAND
Although there are enough verified lithium resources to sustain a fully EV dependent world for hundreds of years, slow establishment of mining operations has meant that actual supply has lagged demand. And now that the Tesla-led EV revolution has hit full gear, pressure on existing resources has grown by a considerable factor.
Not to be left out of the competition, junior resource companies have grasped the seriousness of the demand for lithium and are moving to bring on supplies. A.I.S. Resources Limited is one of these early movers with excellent prospects in South America's productive regions. Argentina is a major global lithium producer with significant additional potential, and a respected mining-industry history. The country has become well known for its many mineralized salars or salt fields, which include the Hombre Muerto and Salar Olaroz properties each producing significant lithium.
This is where A.I.S. Resources has staked its three main lithium projects, all of which are strategically located in the Argentina's Puna Region. In all, A.I.S. Resources has about 7,725 hectares and its flagship Guayatayoc property is well advanced with a mining permit in hand and drilling permits imminent.
Guayatayoc was sampled and returned Li ranging from 270-900 ppm in ponds that had aquifer flow, as well as 100-190ppm for brines sitting in the top layers. That's considered very high grade and suitable for li-ion battery production. The Guayatayoc is on its way to becoming a near term producer. The project will be fast-tracked, as chemistry and process work is already complete. The company expects that it can be in production as early as 2019. And that comes from a highly skilled team of lithium mining veterans who have completed other recent lithium projects into production.
MORE AND BETTER TECHNOLOGY ADDING FUEL TO A FIRE
If successfully developed to market, this new dendrite technology will help to accelerate the adoption of battery run technologies across the spectrum, including electric vehicles and home battery power. By eliminating some of the biggest concerns that people have with electric vehicles, companies like Tesla and EV farms of top vehicle manufacturers stand to gain massively. The technology will be particularly useful in electric vehicles.
EV batteries are very expensive and therefore cannot be viably changed in the same fashion as in smartphones once depleted. Because electric vehicles have not been around for long, there is still uncertainty about the longevity of their batteries. And because the battery is an extremely critical component of EVs, it stands to be seen whether they can stand up to the longevity offered by petrol and diesel vehicles, which often exceeds 30 years.
Galaxy Resources Limited is a lithium-focused resources company, with assets spanning Australia, Canada and Argentina. Galaxy is currently advancing plans to develop the Sal de Vida Lithium and Potash Brine Project ("Sal de Vida") in Argentina, which is situated in the Lithium Triangle, a region where Chile, Argentina and Bolivia meet. Sal de Vida is a proven high-quality resource has excellent promise as a future low-cost production facility. Galaxy also owns the Mt Cattlin Spodumene Mine near Ravensthorpe in Western Australia and the James Bay Lithium Pegmatite Project in Quebec, Canada.
Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile
Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A., is a producer of potassium nitrate and iodine. The Company produces specialty plant nutrients, iodine derivatives, lithium and its derivatives, potassium chloride, potassium sulfate and certain industrial chemicals. Its segments include specialty plant nutrients, industrial chemicals, iodine and derivatives, lithium and derivatives, potassium, and other products and services Lithium and its derivatives are used in batteries, greases and frits for production of ceramics. Potassium chloride is a commodity fertilizer that is produced and sold by the Company across the world.
Lithium X Energy Corp.
Lithium X Energy Corp. is a lithium exploration and development company with a goal of becoming a low-cost supplier for the burgeoning lithium battery industry. On July 11th, the company announced that further to its news release of June 29th, 2017, the Company has closed the definitive agreement with Aberdeen International Inc. for the purchase of Aberdeen's remaining 50% interest in Potasio y Litio de Argentina S.A., which controls 100% of the Sal de los Angeles Project. The project consists of 8,154 hectares covering 95% of Salar de Diablillos, and has an NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate of 1.037 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent in the indicated category and 1.007 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent in the inferred category.
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