MGX Minerals has claimed that its collaborative research partnership with the University of British Columbia has successfully developed a novel hybrid organic-inorganic material for use in engineering silicon interfaces. These interfaces could prove critical in achieving a highly efficient, long-lasting silicon anode that will aide in the development of next generation lithium-ion batteries capable of quadrupling energy density from the current standard of 100 Wh/kg up to 400 Wh/kg for use in long-range electric vehicles and grid-scale energy storage.
Also, MGX and UBC are also currently conducting process optimisation on metallurgical grade silicon. The goal is to utilise low-cost metallurgical-grade silicon as a feedstock to fabricate nanostructured silicon.
The overall objective of the MGX/UBC two year research program is to develop a low-cost and scalable method that will fabricate a silicon-based anode to improve the energy density of Li-ion batteries. Dr Jian Liu, Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan, is leading a research group focused on advanced materials for energy storage. Dr Liu was previously the technical lead for development of surface coating materials by atomic and molecular layer deposition, and their applications in surface and interface engineering on the anode and cathode of Li-ion batteries and beyond, at Western University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
MGX operates three silicon projects in southeastern British Columbia - Koot, Wonah and Gibraltar. A one ton sample of quartzite from the Company’s Gibraltar project was recently shipped to the independent lab Dorfner Anzaplan in Germany for mineralogical analyses. Dorfner conducted X-ray diffraction analysis, chemical analyses through X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, grain size distribution, mineral processing analysis, automated optical sorting and thermal stability testing. Results indicated that the material, after comminution and classification fraction, is of high initial purity (99.5 wt-%), making the fraction chemically suitable as medium quality feedstock material for metallurgical-grade silicon production.