PPK Group’s 48% owned subsidiary, Li-S Energy, together with its partner and shareholder Deakin University has developed a revolutionary new lithium sulphur battery utilising the boron nitride nanotubes (BNNT) technology.
Boron nitride nanotubes are a cutting edge new material similar to carbon nanotubes. Considered the world’s strongest and most advanced fibre, BNNTs offer significant material benefits in aviation, automotive, space travel, power generation, batteries, electronics and defence systems.
Technology developer BNNT Technology, a 50-50 joint venture between PPK and Deakin University, is producing high purity boron nitride nanotubes using patented Deakin University technology.
Following some major breakthroughs in equipment design and production methods, Deakin University researchers have been able to produce 1kg of BNNT over a 5-day period from a single module, more than three times the original BNNT production estimate of 15kg p/a per module, with more than 95% purity.
PPK said the cost of each module has gone from A$700,000 to only A$850,000 to achieve this increase in production, effectively making BNNT Technology Limited the lowest cost pure BNNT producer in the world.
Lithium sulphur (Li-S) batteries are considered next-generation batteries with a significant higher energy capacity than existing lithium-ion batteries. However, to date, they have a severe limitation with lifetime performance, typically degrading to the point of failure over very few charge and discharge cycles.
Deakin’s Nanotechnology research ream has developed an innovative use of the BNNT, to improve the performance of Li-S batteries – retaining the high energy capacity and also avoiding significant degradation over more than 450 charge/discharge cycles.
Li-S Energy has lodged two key provisional patents covering this breakthrough technology, which has the potential to make large-scale manufacturing of lithium sulphur batteries commercially viable for the first time.
According to the Group’s Chairman Robin Levison, Li-S Energy intends to optimise the design, then scale up production of the new batteries over the coming years, for which there are ‘almost unlimited potential uses’ across a wide range of industry sectors.
“As Chairman, I’m really thrilled at what we and Deakin have announced today and the excitement it generates in the potential future of both Li-S and BNNT products,” Mr Levison said.
“As a significant investor in both BNNT Technology Ltd, as well as Li-S Ltd. The shareholders of PPK are uniquely positioned to benefit from these recent technological breakthroughs.”