Award Winning Research Establishes a Future Role for Niobium in Developing More Efficient Battery Systems

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Published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a ground-breaking paper by an international research team has explained the unique properties and fast charging behaviour of niobium oxides (T-Nb2O5). This world class research used experimentation and modelling at the atomic level to explain the unique properties of T-Nb2O5 and received the prestigious Charles Hatchett Award, sponsored by the world's leading niobium producer CBMM, in 2018.

Now in its 40th year, this award recognises the best research on the science and technology of niobium and its alloys.

The winning authors were presented with their medals at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Premier Awards Dinner in London on the 3rd July 2018. The following day, on behalf of the winning authors, Dr Dongchang Chen representing The Georgia Institute of Technology, presented the winning paper at the 2018 Charles Hatchett seminar.

The presentation was made to an invited international audience at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in central London. It explained the experimental and theoretical approach applied by the research team to determine why T-Nb2O5, when applied as a Li ion battery electrode, presents unique behaviour and super fast charge and discharge rates. In his concluding remarks, Dr Chen noted that compared to other battery materials, the remarkable Li ion storage and transport behaviour of T-Nb2O5 is truly unique and presents an opportunity for super fast charge-discharge in batteries for both transport and consumer electronics.

The potential impacts of this research work caught the attention of the Charles Hatchett International Selection Panel. The award process is concerned with technical excellence and originality, but also considers the social, economic and environmental advantages of any proposed application of niobium. On behalf of the panel, the Chairman Dr Mike Hicks commented “This research is remarkable because of the academic and commercial interest in advanced materials and for the first time in forty years, the role of niobium in energy storage has won the Charles Hatchett Award.”

The Charles Hatchett Award makes an important contribution to CBMM’s technology and market development activities. Marcos Stuart, CBMM’s Chief Technology Officer said, “The development of new and advanced materials containing niobium is an important area of development and this research provides us with a deep technical understanding of the potential niobium oxide has in the development of future battery systems. The application of this technology will require collaboration with the whole supply chain including other materials suppliers, battery designers and manufacturers and end users such as those in the automotive industry”.

The 2018 seminar provided a platform for technical discussion on the role of niobium in future battery technology and facilitated dialogue around the development of new research and demonstration projects to further advance this exciting energy storage technology.

Notes to Editors
The 2018 Charles Hatchett Award
For the best paper on the science and technology of niobium and its alloys, the 2018 Charles Hatchett winners are Dongchang Chen (USA), Jeng-Han Wang (Taiwan), Tsung-Fu Chou (Taiwan), Bote Zhao (USA/China), Mostafa A. El-Sayed (USA) and Meilin Liu (USA), for their paper ‘Unraveling the Nature of Anomalously Fast Energy Storage in T Nb2O5’ Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139 (2017), 7071-7081.

About the Charles Hatchett Award
The Charles Hatchett Award is sponsored by CBMM – Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração in collaboration with the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) – as part of its activities to promote niobium in international research and development programmes. Beta Technology, a UK consultancy, manages the annual award on behalf of CBMM. For further information please visit http://www.charles-hatchett.com

About Niobium
The award is named after Charles Hatchett (1765-1847), a British amateur scientist who first detected columbium in 1801 in a mineral specimen of columbite collected in New England. For some time, it was thought to be identical to tantalum until a German chemist Heinrich Rose (1795-1864) separated it from tantalum and named it niobium, after Niobe, daughter of Tantalus. Niobium was agreed as the official name by the International Union of Chemists in 1949.

Niobium, element 41 in the periodic table, is a transition metal which is an important component in a wide range of materials. Its main use is as a microalloying addition in high strength steels for applications such as bridges, pipelines and car bodies. Niobium oxides are playing an emerging role in the development of new and advanced functionalized materials for applications in energy storage.

About CBMM
Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM) is the world's leading supplier of niobium and niobium technology. Fully integrated from the mine to the final customized products, CBMM also provides expert technical support to customers in the most sophisticated steel and technological segments around the globe.
Headquartered in Brazil, CBMM has a technology subsidiary in Switzerland, commercial subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and North America, and an extensive worldwide network of strategically positioned supply warehouses.

CBMM was founded in 1955 in Araxá, Minas Gerais, Brazil, site of a large niobium ore deposit. Decades of investment in niobium technology, niobium applications and customer service have earned CBMM the position of the world's leading niobium producer and the sole company present in all niobium market segments. The Company’s team of over 1,800 highly trained, dedicated professionals is committed to providing cutting-edge niobium products to over 300 customers in 50 countries around the globe.

A commitment to the environment, employees and the community that dates to the Company's earliest days has solidified CBMM's reputation as a sustainable enterprise. In addition to numerous certifications and honors, including the first mining and metallurgy company in the world to earn ISO 14001 certification, CBMM's mission is sustainable: expand the use of niobium technology, transforming a natural resource into solutions to build a better world.

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