HPQ Silicon Resources Inc (CVE:HPQ) (OTC:URAGF) subsidiary HPQ Nano Silicon Powders, which is developing the PUREVAP Nano Silicon Reactor with PyroGenesis Canada Inc (CVE:PYR), plans to add a carbon coating to the spherical nano silicon powders and nanowires as they are being created, the companies announced Wednesday.
Combining the carbon coating process into the same operation cycle that produces the silicon materials, the low-cost transformation of metallurgically produced silicon into spherical silicon nano powders or nano wires, could be game changing for the industry, the company said.
Currently, advance coating processes, such as Atomic Laser Disposition-coating (ALD) require an additional dedicated self-contain process for the coating of the material, capex for the dedicated process equipment, on top of additional material handling, which can increase contamination risk and operational costs.
READ: PyroGenesis says new preorder for nano powders from big auto manufacturer validates its investment in HPQ Nano Silicon Partners
The companies pointed to Tesla’s recent battery day as validation for the silicon coating concept.
“Musk also added that he would tackle one of the key downsides of using silicon inside anodes by coating the silicon with elastic polymer coating and holding the silicon together with elastic binders,” the Korea Herald reported in September.
The primary hurdle to increasing Silicon anode content in lithium-ion batteries is the mitigation of silicon swelling and cracking in order to achieve a cyclage stability comparable to graphite, the company said.
To solve that issue, the companies are exploring nanosizing the silicon in order to eliminate its cracking during the lithiation phase and/or encapsulating the silicon in order to manage its swelling and cracking
This is why HPQ NANO is looking forward to the December 2020 start of its first PUREVAPTM NSiR reactor and moving the Nano Silicon project to the validation phase, the company said.
“Our belief that HPQ NANO PUREVAPTM NSiR will open up unique multibillion-dollar business opportunity for HPQ and PyroGenesis has never been stronger,” HPQ Silicon CEO Bernard Tourillon said. “Having the vision to add this additional capability to the process is another example of the value of our unique relationship with PyroGenesis, a company with a long track record of taking high-tech industrial projects from proof of concept to global commercial scalability.”
Silicon will play a strong role in the renewable energy revolution, he said.
“Silicon's potential to meet energy storage demand is undeniable and generating massive investments, as well as serious industry interest,” Tourillon said. “We are very confident about the prospect of being one of the first companies coming to market with a low-cost scalable process that can encapsulate, in carbon, the spherical Nano Silicon Powders and Nanowires that batteries and [electric vehicle] manufacturers are looking for.”
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