24 May 2022

Ceramic-coal composite produces innovative fuel cell

X-Mat, the Advanced Materials Division of Semplastics, is pioneering an innovative, greener approach to utilising coal for energy. The company has successfully fabricated a full cell battery by combining a commercial cathode and a proprietary ceramic coal composite anode.

This coal composite is currently undergoing testing and has already achieved over 450 cycles at a third-party laboratory, which is a significant step forward in the technology development. The team’s next step is to scale this technology for testing in single layer pouch cells.

X-Mat technology can also be used to upcycle graphite from spent lithium-ion batteries. “In the US, 95% of lithium-ion batteries aren’t being recycled,” said Bill Easter, founder of X-Mat. “Graphite isn’t an unlimited resource and one day we will run out. X-Mat’s team is combatting this challenge by discovering innovative ways to recycle this resource and create new batteries that are just as powerful as their traditional counterparts, if not more so – something many people thought would never be possible.”

Demand for lithium-ion batteries continues to grow, with no signs of it slowing down. Each year, demand is expected to grow by 25%, which would lead to 14 times growth by 2030. X-Mat’s revolutionary discovery can help meet this demand in an eco-friendlier way. The company has gained support for its work with batteries from the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. In 2020, the company was awarded a nearly $1 million contract to help fund the research for utilising coal in batteries.

This revolutionary, high-performance material that combines some of the best properties of metals (electrical conductivity), engineering plastics (lightweight) and ceramics (high operating temperature).

There have been several partnerships, including work with NASA, Space Florida and the NETL. The game-changing material has various current applications including fireproof roof tiles, lightweight space mirrors, battery electrodes and 3D printed ceramics. The technology can be custom-engineered to fit many specifications and has unlimited potential market applications.

Company info: SemPlastics/X-Mat