Sunrise Energy Metals highlights lithium-ion battery cathode innovation at NSW complex

Sunrise Energy Metals (ASX:SRL) has filed a patent application for lithium-ion battery cathode innovation from ongoing research and development work at its Sunrise Battery Materials Complex in New South Wales. 

The company says it filed the patent application in June following the return of results that delivered a 45% to 94% increase in battery cycle life for nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) 811 cells compared to control LiBs utilising standard electric vehicle (EV) industry formulation. 

Sunrise reports results of the QUT testwork indicated the ‘unique’ elemental composition of the Sunrise sulphate had a ‘highly beneficial’ impact on the durability of the Sunrise cells relative to the control cells by retaining a 90% capacity after 200 cycles. 

Additionally, a second phase of independent testwork undertaken by New Jersey-based NEI Corporation confirmed that samples containing the Sunrise sulphate demonstrated a more consistent degradation profile.

The company also notes the testwork program has solidified the company’s belief that ‘significant’ improvements in cathode material performance can be achieved further upstream by a more targeted approach to feedstock characterisation and elemental composition. 

Independent testwork programs were undertaken on LiBs using NCM chemistry at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and NEI Corporation in New Jersey, US, and were designed to cover the elemental composition of the Sunrise sulphate formulation.   

The company notes the sulphates used in the testwork were produced as part of pilot plant operations undertaken during the most recent Feasibility Study for the project, which also provided both flowsheet validation and customer samples. 

With testwork ongoing, Sunrise Energy Metals announces further work is required to assess if there are any other impacts on cell performance and characteristics. 

Sunrise also announces it is currently assessing next steps in terms of progressing this initial breakthrough, potentially in partnership with 1 or more existing participants in the EV battery supply chain.  

Addressing the application, Sunrise Energy Metals Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sam Riggall said: “Our research and development (R&D) activities to date have focused on the conversion of metal salts to precursors and cathode active material. 

The work has demonstrated that a targeted elemental composition, using nickel and cobalt sulphates generated from Sunrise’s piloting program, can deliver a 45% to 94% increase in battery cycle life for NMC811 cells compared to control LiB that utilise industry standard battery-grade metal salts. Improvements of this magnitude are significant by lowering both cell cost and the life cycle cost of an electric vehicle. 

Improvements of this magnitude are significant, by lowering both cell cost and the life cycle cost of an electric vehicle”

We are currently assessing the next steps in terms of progressing this initial breakthrough, including working in partnership with one or more existing participants in the EV battery supply chain.”

Sunrise Energy Metals is an ASX-listed company progressing its ‘world-class’ namesake battery materials complex in New South Wales through the use of its Clean-iX technology. 

The company says the project represents one of the largest and most cobalt-rich nickel laterite deposits in the world and is development-ready, with all key permits and approvals in place. 

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Sunrise Energy Metals Ltd
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.