Talga Resources (ASX: TLG) will develop and provide graphene materials for high-performance aluminium motor windings as luxury car maker Bentley works on its new e-axle.
The e-axle concept combines electric motor, power electronics and transmission into a compact electric drive system for hybrid and battery-powered electric vehicles. The e-axle aims to reduce vehicle weight and improving performance.
Battery anodes and graphene additives provider Talga has been approved for co-funding by Innovate UK, Britain’s innovation agency.
Talga’s graphene materials will be used to deliver an aluminium-based solution aimed at out-performing (and ultimately replacing) the copper windings now in use.
The funding runs to the end of 2022 and Talga will retain all intellectual property.
Talga is entitled to £224,000 ($429,940) of the £3.6 million funding.
Reducing weight, increasing performance, safety and driving range
Managing director Mark Thompson said the successful use of Talga graphene material to lend aluminium the properties required to outperform copper in electric motors would be a big advancement.
“For automotive manufacturers this could reduce vehicle weight and increase performance, safety and driving range while retaining sustainability and economics,” he said.
Mr Thompson added lightweight and high-performance automotive components perfectly complement Talga’s lithium-ion battery anode products.
Perth-based Talga is a vertically integrated materials company focusing on stronger, lighter and more functional graphene and graphite enhanced products for the global coatings, battery, construction and polymer composites markets.
How Talga found a future in graphene
Graphene, which is derived from graphite, was discovered in 2004. It is 100 times stronger than steel, is so thin (one atom wide), transparent, flexible and electrically conductive.
When it was first developed, the possibilities were many, including uses in steel rebar, armour-plating, jet turbines and even building construction.
Talga was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in July 2010 as Talga Gold and was making good progress, its drilling hitting intersections with grades up to an impressive 30 grams per tonne.
Then, in February 2012 came the big news.
Talga had taken an option over the Swedish properties of Teck Resources. Iron ore was one of the targets, but there was important part of the announcement: the ground included a graphite deposit for which there was already a JORC resource (3.6 million tonnes at a grade of 23% total graphitic carbon) — no small thing.
Moreover, that resource figure was from an area just 700m long (drilled between 1970 and 1982), but there was a graphite horizon extending for 15km. That was the Nunasvaara deposit; more deposits would follow.
Not only were the grades good, but the project was advanced.
By October 2012, Talga followed up with drill results of its own and had no hesitation at calling them “spectacular”.
Hole after hole returned high grades such as 40.2m at 28.2% TGC, 59.8m at 26.4% TGC and 85.1m at 22.1% TGC.
It was just a step from there to graphene.