Magic Crystal Boosts The Future Of Lithium Batteries And Electric Vehicles

- Dec 13, 2019-

On November 29th local time, Matthew Hill of Monash University won the Solomon Award for his "magic crystals", ranging from clean gas and liquids to mining and pharmaceuticals. Ten applications.

The American company EnergyExplorationTechnologies (EnergyX) has developed a cleaner lithium mining application that brings the gospel to future cars and batteries. Storage of electric vehicles and renewable energy batteries is gradually becoming the mainstream in the world.

Matthew Hill used an invention in Melbourne-metal organic frameworks (MOFs)-sometimes called "magic crystals"-to prove that they can be used to clean air and water, as well as various industrial processes. Now, his team at CSIRO (National Science Agency of Australia) and Monash University has partnered with American company EnergyX to commercialize a new production process using a metal organic framework to produce lithium.

That night, Matthew accepted the inaugural David and Valerie Solomon Awards presented by the Australian Institute of Technology and Engineering (ATSE). David Solomon is the main inventor of Australian plastic banknotes and he has developed a range of new technologies that are widely used in the plastics and polymer industries.

Most of the world's lithium is produced by "lithium salts", which is a labor-intensive process that requires huge evaporation ponds. For example, an evaporation pond in Chile covers an area of 42 square kilometers. Matthew's technology has the potential to replace 4,000 hectares of ponds with filtration devices covering only 0.1 square kilometers.

His "magic crystal" is a network of metal atoms connected and separated by carbon-based (organic) compounds. This is a huge surface area that can be customized to absorb almost anything. In the late 1980s, Professor Richard Robson, a chemist at the University of Melbourne, made the substance for the first time, but it was difficult to make.

When Matthew first tried to make MOF, he mixed the contents of 40 containers together to make only one gram of crystals. Today, he and his team can produce hundreds of kilograms of this crystal every week.

It is estimated that by 2040, annual global sales of electric vehicles will reach 56 million units, and annual sales of battery energy storage systems will exceed 1095 GW, which will increase exponentially compared to 2 million and 90 GW in 2018. . Electric cars use the same lithium-ion battery technology as mobile phones and laptops.

Energy X founder and CEO Teague Egan believes that this element will become the most important and valuable economic commodity of the 21st century. "The world has never needed so much lithium before, so current production methods cannot reach the necessary scale. Matthew's disruptive technology allows us to restore this essence resource in a transformative way. This It will greatly improve the economic and environmental impact of lithium mining. "

Lithium ore is just the latest of many applications. Matthew and his team also work with industry to use these crystals to clean natural gas, clean the air in submarines, purify drugs, and more. Matthew pointed out that this is just the tip of the iceberg. "Our metal-organic frame membranes not only separate lithium ions from water for use in making batteries, we have also proven that we can put these membranes in lithium batteries to increase their life and capacity. Of boron molecular companies to expand the production of our crystals. "