PPK Group companies get up to $6.5m in Federal funding
PPK Group’s potentially game-changing battery and nanotechnologies have just been supercharged by up to $6.5m by the Federal Government’s inaugural Trailblazer University Program.
As part of the program, three PPK Group (ASX:PPK) companies have been named as beneficiaries of Deakin University’s Recycling and Renewable Energy Commercialisation Hub (REACH).
Li-S Energy’s (ASX:LIS) disruptive battery technology is currently PPK’s most commercially advanced technology incubation project and it will receive up to $5m in federal co-investment over the next four years.
Li-S will use the money to further develop its lithium sulphur batteries that could, for example, allow EVs to drive longer and drones to fly for hours between charges, as well as mobile phones you don’t have to plug in for a week.
By introducing a nano-material called boron nitride nanotubes (BNNT) into battery chemistry, Li-S has been able to create lithium-sulphur batteries have much stronger, longer-lasting energy capacity than the more commonly known lithium-ion batteries, while avoiding the degradation that has so far made lithium-sulphur batteries unviable.
In non-eye-glazing terms, BNNTs are super flexible fibres that are 100 times stronger than steel but as light as carbon fibre. As well as EV and phone batteries, they also have potential applications in industries from aviation to mining, medicine and space travel.
PPK retains 50.2% ownership of Li-S, which has been on a roll since its successful spin-out IPO last September.
Li-S already has a collaboration with Boeing subsidiary Insitu Pacific to integrate and test its battery technology in a range of drones. That followed the announcement of a partnership with Janus Electric to power around 400 electric trucks.
Li-S Energy CEO, Dr Lee Finniear, commented: “Li-S Energy is delighted to be a REACH partner with Deakin University, given the close alignment of our green energy goals for manufacturing, recycling and sovereign supply chains.
“This additional funding will support us in our mission to scale-up the development and production of our environmentally friendly, lightweight lithium sulphur batteries, targeting massive growth in electric aviation, drones and EVs.
“Being a cornerstone partner of the Deakin $380 million Trailblazer program with 20 other partners that are commercialising research within the end-to-end supply chain of clean energy and recycling will provide increased opportunities and synergies for the rapid adoption of our cutting-edge technology.”
With its broader focus on BNNTs, PPK has formed a strategic alloys JV with manufacturing solutions company Amaero International (ASX:3DA) and Deakin University to incorporate the high-strength and super flexible fibres into Amaero’s High Operating Temperature Aluminium Alloys (HOT Al).
The Trailblazer University Program’s goal is to facilitate collaboration between universities and business, and thereby encourage the conversion of research into marketable commercial solutions.
Executive Chairman Robin Levison said it was an ideal outcome that PPK Group commercialisation opportunities would benefit from the funding provided via Deakin University.
“It is fantastic to see the cutting-edge research and development being undertaken by Deakin University and the PPK Group companies in the clean energy space receive support and recognition from the Federal government,” Mr Levison said.
“Our relationship with Deakin University is a critical one and has a proven record of driving outcomes and creating value for shareholders and other stakeholders, including the university itself.
“PPK continues to provide corporate support to our group companies to allow them to focus on the development of the underlying science and the commercialisation of the resultant technology.”
BNNT Technology Limited, the cornerstone nano-technology supporting many of PPK’s other university incubation and commercialisation projects, will receive up to $1m in co-investment. This will be used to support further scaling up of manufacturing capacity and R&D into new applications for the technology.
Finally, White Graphene Limited will receive up to $500, 000 in co-investment to complete the scale-up of BNNTs and R&D into new applications within the energy storage sector.
This article was developed in collaboration with Southern Cross Gold, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.