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Platinum and Palladium Lithium Battery Breakthrough: Commercialization on the Horizon for 2024?

Tuesday, 16 April 2024 20:26
Platinum and Palladium Lithium Battery Breakthrough: Commercialization on the Horizon for 2024?

(Ecofin Agency) - Platinum Group Metals and Amplats have been working on a technology harnessing platinum and palladium to enhance the efficiency of lithium-ion batteries. Their efforts have borne notable fruit, with the prospect of a maiden commercial rollout slated for this year.

The year 2024 could herald a pivotal juncture for palladium and platinum, given recent strides in integrating these metals into a novel lightweight battery technology for electric vehicles. In a recent operational update, mining company Platinum Group Metals, in collaboration with Anglo American Platinum, signaled its intent to forge prototypes with an eye towards potential commercialization by 2024.

The ad hoc joint venture established by the two entities, Lion Battery Technologies, has struck a deal with the American Battery Innovation Center (BIC) to bolster efforts in commercializing their platinum and palladium-based battery technologies. BIC will conduct a series of small and large-scale trials alongside additional research endeavors aimed at enhancing performance. The overarching objective is to engineer batteries that outperform current technologies, offering up to 100% greater energy density while extending battery lifespan.

These new developments unfold against a backdrop of particular significance for the palladium and platinum markets. For platinum, while short and medium-term demand upticks are anticipated, with analysts forecasting a deficit market until 2027, the impact on prices might be somewhat muted due to existing stockpiles. Meanwhile, palladium commenced 2024 on a bearish note, trading in January at around $1,000 per ounce, a far cry from the $3,440.76 per ounce pinnacle reached in March 2022 following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Analysts attribute this downturn to concerns about the long-term demand implications stemming from the surge in demand for electric vehicles.

While it remains premature to prognosticate the timeline for the widespread adoption of this new technology, the mere prospect of a fresh potential avenue for platinum and palladium consumption is enough to ignite fervor across both metals' markets. The prospective impact on demand could herald new vistas. Africa’s top two platinum producers, South Africa and Zimbabwe, as well as companies active in these countries, will keep an eye on things evolve.

Louis-Nino Kansoun



Public Management

ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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