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Researchers claims lithium-tellurium battery systems show promise for EV industry

Tellurium consumption to see a 3% CAGR from 2018-2022

Deer Horn Capital has reported that researchers working on more efficient batteries for electronic cars are claiming significant results with new lithium-tellurium (Li-Te) battery systems.

In a January 2016 article, the peer-reviewed Journal of Applied Electrochemistry reported development of an “Li-Te rechargeable cell with exceptionally high specific capacity and cycling stability at high charge/discharge rates…”

The article, titled ‘A lithium-tellurium rechargeable battery with exceptional cycling stability’ by Toshinari Koketsu, Benjamin Paul, Chao Wu, and Ralph Kraehnert reported that: “Long-term cyclability tests involving 1,000 charge/discharge cycles at 10C rate delivered an unprecedented specific capacity…at 100% efficiency.”

This may be good news for the electric vehicle industry. In the US, new electric car sales surged by 72% in 2017, pushing total ownership to over 1 million vehicles. A study by the International Energy Agency predicts: “The number of electric vehicles on the road around the world will hit 125 million by 2030.”

Among the biggest obstacles to widespread adoption of electric cars are charging problems, lack of power and short travelling distances – all related to current battery technology.

Millions are spent each year on researching and building lighter and more efficient batteries that will bring electric cars closer to the performance of combustion engine vehicles. To date, the standard battery for electric cars has been lithium-ion.

However, a host of new battery companies is working to either improve upon current lithium technology or build better batteries with new materials.

The Financial Times recently reported how venture capital funds have already poured over US$1 billion into car battery development, investigating better lithium-ion construction, new materials and other advancements such as solid state batteries.

The discovery of efficiencies with Li-Te battery systems represents an important discovery from this research and development.

“We’re seeing more and more promising research into the application of tellurium for solving major technology and societal problems,” said Deer Horn president and CEO Tyrone Docherty. “This latest development for Li-Te batteries is one of many recent intriguing findings that we have reported over the past two years.”

Docherty added that solar power, thermo-electric devices and consumer electronics currently consume nearly three quarters of the world’s tellurium. “Solar power is on an exponential growth curve worldwide, while growing consumer electronics consumption will also contribute to higher tellurium consumption.”

Research and Markets’ latest tellurium report, Global Tellurium Market 2018-2022, forecasts a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% for tellurium consumption from 2018 to 2022.

“Considering potential supply issues and ongoing technology discoveries,” said Docherty, “we believe there will be stresses on tellurium supplies looking ahead.”

Deer Horn Capital is advancing its Deer Horn gold-silver-tellurium property in west-central British Columbia. “While there has recently been a flood of juniors jumping into the lithium market due to electric vehicle growth,” said Docherty, “we’re probably the only junior miner focused on tellurium exploration and development.”

Added Docherty: “When you add in potential supply disruptions due to changes in copper refining, we believe primary sources of tellurium will be in high demand in the future. This is why we continue to look for additional high-grade tellurium projects in North America.”

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