OneD Battery Sciences has unveiled an electric vehicle battery that uses silicon nanowires to boost the energy density of lithium-ion cells.
The announcement follows three years of testing on commercial EV-grade graphite used in the anodes of EV batteries by unnamed graphite suppliers, cell manufactures, and EV makers in the US, Europe, and Asia.
During testing, the firm provided customers with standard versions of the Sinanode anodes for laboratory testing.
OneD says customers plan to further customise the process to meet their specific needs, including processing large enough quantities to build EV cells for optimization and qualification.
Testing was conducted in pilot Sinanode facilities, which included the equipment needed to process the graphite powders provided by the OEM.
The June 10 announcement marked the commercial launch of the firm’s pilot line production program dedicated to electric vehicle OEMs.
The first two facilities are in the US, and additional facilities are under negotiation.
Each facility is set up to process up to 800kg of anode active material per month, and enough anode active material for 34MWh.
Sinanode Pilot processing will begin around the end of the year and the firm anticipates its first anchor tenant to start production by the end of this year or early 2022. Until then, it is processing in its Palo Alto pilot facility.
OneD’s chief commercial officer Fabrice Hudry told BEST: “The Sinanode process is two parts: a Catalyst step and Silicon step.
“The Catalyst step deposits nanoparticles of copper oxide onto the graphite particles. The Silicon step uses CVD ovens to grow silicon nanowires onto the graphite particles.
“Each facility has a small production team dedicated full time to the OEM’s processing. The OEM can process multiple graphite powders and select various silicon percentages; they can also work with the OneD R&D team to access many inventions related to adopting the anode materials in specific electrode manufacturing processes and cell designs.
“We expect OEMs to fine-tune EV cells for both the high end and the low end of their EV models due in 2025. These models will enter production by 2024 and we will have the large scale processing ready by then to process according to their fully qualified specific Sinanode formulation.
Existing manufacturing processes
The company’s CEO, Vincent Pluvinage, told BEST: “Over the last ten years, we have built and tested thousands of full pouch cells built with various graphite substrates and various commercial cathodes.
“We have also tested cells built by our customers from 18650 format to 60 Ah pouch formats.
“We are currently negotiating the contracts for the programs.”
The firm’s Sinanode technology integrates into existing manufacturing processes to fuse silicon nanowires onto commercial graphite powders.
The higher energy density increases battery range while nanowires shorten charging time, which will enable OEMs to design and produce electric vehicles that answer market demands, say the firm.
The company says its Sinanode pushes the anode specific capacity to around 1,000mAh/g.
A graphite anode, which is widely used in commercial lithium-ion batteries, has a theoretical specific capacity of 372mAh/g.
The Sinanode anode material can be blended with graphite, to achieve initial coulombic efficiency of around 92%, and more than 1,000 full charge cycles than commercially available EV cells.
This reduces the investments and time necessary to scale up the Sinanode step to EV quantities, while decreasing the cost of EV anodes (measured in $ per kWh) by almost 50%, when compared to the cost of most competitive anodes used in EV batteries today.
Pluvinage said: “During this decade, we will witness the largest and fastest transformation of a global industry that’s ever been seen, and the decisions made today will determine which car makers come out on top.
“EV demand will be driven by range, charge time, and cost, and our technology addresses each of these purchase drivers in a significant way.”