PyroGenesis Canada Inc (CVE:PYR) has successfully established a proof of concept for the production of spherical nano-powders from silicon metal, a key component of next-generation lithium-ion silicon metal batteries.
The company is conducting a joint venture with HPQ Silicon Resources Inc (CSE:HPQ) to produce silicon powders, and the companies modified a HPQ PUREVAP Gen2 reactor to undergo the ultimately fruitful production tests.
“We are delighted by the PUREVAP™ Gen2’s recent test results from which it has established a very important proof of concept for the production of spherical nano powders for the lithium-ion batteries market,” PyroGenesis CEO Peter Pascali said in a statement. “The success of this testing paves the way for an interesting business opportunity for both PyroGenesis and HPQ. The goal is to significantly increase the performance of Li-ion batteries, currently in demand, using silicon metal (Si) anodes, at a competitive cost.”
Spherical silicon metal nano-powders play an important role in producing high-performance Li-ion batteries with silicon metal anodes, which the company said can contain between 20% and 40% higher energy density.
That’s where the joint venture comes in. Current manufacturing methods for the nano-powders are expensive and difficult to scale. What’s more, the company said, silicon metal powders have previously needed to be blended with graphite in order to be used in battery anodes.
Now, given the success of its proof of concept tests, PyroGenesis is designing additional process improvements to the modified Gen2 PUREVAP reactor to demonstrate its commercial potential.
The plan is to have the reactor fully operational within the first quarter of 2020 and validate its approach in what could be a multibillion-dollar business opportunity if PyroGenesis and HPQ secure first-mover advantage.
“PyroGenesis has a long track record of taking high-technology projects from proof of concept to global commercial scalability, so if anybody has the knowhow to use the silicon metal produced by HPQ PUREVAP QRR and make spherical silicon metal nano-powders for use as high-capacity anode materials in the next-generation Li-ion batteries, it is them,” HPQ CEO Bernard Tourillon said. “Silicon metal’s potential to meet energy storage demand is undeniable and generating massive investments, as well as, serious industry interest, so our timing could not be better.”
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