Ionic Mineral Technologies (Ionic MT), a US-based advanced battery materials technology company, emerged from stealth mode to debut its halloysite-derived nano-silicon, Ionisil, which can be used as a drop-in replacement for graphite in lithium-based batteries. Nano-silicon can unlock significantly longer range and faster charging for electric vehicles (EVs).
Halloysite’s naturally occurring nanotubular structure enables Ionic Mineral Technologies to take a “top-down” approach to manufacturing nano-silicon. (Photo: Ionic MT)
The company controls what it says is the world’s largest deposit of high-purity halloysite—an aluminum silicate (Al2Si2O5(OH)4) clay with a naturally occurring nanotubular structure. The halloysite nanotubes, with silicon oxide shells, have an average length of 500 nanometers, an average diameter of 50 nanometers, and 25% pore volume with an average pore size of 15 nanometers.
Ionic MT says it is capable of mining halloysite at a rate of 30,000 tons per month, using simple surface excavation.
To produce the nano-structured, silicon active material Ionisil, Ionic MT:
Acid-etches away the alumina and filters the result to create silicon feedstock. Precipitated alumina gel is also created as a critical mineral byproduct.
Converts the silicon oxide powder to silicon metal powder, maintaining its nano structure.
Ionic MT is launching just weeks after the “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA) passed into law. The IRA’s EV tax credits hinge on domestically produced battery minerals, a largely non-existent supply chain. Ionic MT is positioned to supply US-sourced battery minerals and materials.
Ionic MT is operating out of its initial 7,500 ft2 pilot plant and lab space, which includes a full battery testing lab, wet beneficiation of halloysite, and a patent pending, pilot-scale silicon production furnace to convert halloysite into nano-silicon.