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MGX Minerals partners with University of British Columbia to develop metallurgical silicon-based anodes for high-energy Li-ion batteries

Canada-based MGX Minerals Inc. is funding a research consortium with the University of British Columbia (UBC) to develop a low-cost and scalable method for fabricating silicon-based anodes to improve the energy density of Li-ion batteries.

The two-year research program will focus on 1) fabricating nanostructured silicon using low-cost metallurgical silicon as a feedstock; and 2) compositing nanostructured silicon with commercial graphite to develop a high-performance silicon anode.


Fabrication and evaluation of Si-based anode for Li-ion batteries.

The purpose of the research is to replace the graphite anode with silicon and complete a hybrid in the short-term which will not require retooling. The ultimate goal is to enable next-generation Li-ion batteries capable of quadrupling energy density from current 100 Wh/kg up to 400 Wh/kg for use in long-range electric vehicles and grid storage.

Leading research and development will be Dr. Jian Liu, Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan. Dr. Liu is leading a research group focused on advanced materials for energy storage. Dr. Liu was previously the technical lead on the 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 indicate 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.



A silicon anode with a selenium/sulfur cathode could work.
Both have higher capacity when used with a carbonate electrolyte.

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