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Silicon/graphite anode shows 30% higher energy density over traditional lithium-ion batteries

Fri, 12/03/2021 - 14:09 -- Paul Crompton

Specialty alumina technology and production company Altech Chemicals has announced a significant breakthrough in lithium-ion battery technology by cracking the “silicon barrier”.

The firm’s research and development laboratory in Western Australia has developed lithium-ion battery anode materials with around 30% higher retention capacity compared to conventional lithium-ion battery anode materials.

The firm combined silicon particles treated with its proprietary technology using regular battery-grade graphite to produce a composite graphite/silicon anode. 

In tests, Altech reported its anode material averaged energy retention capacity of ~430mAh/g, compared to a normal lithium-ion battery anode at around 330mAh/g. 

Altech also reported the batteries demonstrated good stability and cycling performance, although this data was not released.

The materials were subjected to a series of tests, including charge and discharge cycling. 

Previously unresolved impediments for using silicon in lithium-ion battery anodes include: silicon-particle-swelling by up to 300% in volume during battery charge; prohibitive first-cycle-capacity- loss of up to 50% (silicon deactivates a high percentage of the lithium ions in a battery); and rapid battery degradation.

These issues appear to have been resolved by using the composite graphite/silicon batteries. 

The Altech research and development team was headed by Doctor Jingyuan Liu.

Altech’s managing director, Iggy Tan said: “This major achievement is not just a significant breakthrough for us, but also for the lithium-ion battery industry generally. 

“Especially given the 2020 public statement by US electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, which said that its aim is to increase the amount of silicon in its batteries to achieve step-change improvements in energy density and battery life. 

“A 30% higher energy capacity lithium-ion battery would translate not just to significant cost benefits, but also to potentially increased range for electric vehicles.”

Phase 2 of Altech’s planned research and development program will see the company try to improve on the 30% energy increase, and could include the assembly of a pilot plant. 

In terms of potential commercialisation of its technology, the company’s 75% owned subsidiary Altech Industries Germany has commenced a pre-feasibility study for construction of a 10,000tpa battery materials plant in Saxony, Germany to service the European lithium-ion battery market. 

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Pilot plant pushes NEO closer to lithium-ion silicon anode material commercialisation

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 09:23 -- Paul Crompton
me-metals schematic of silicon process

Canadian lithium-ion battery material firm NEO Battery Materials is on the verge of developing a first prototype of its silicon anode material.

NEO is in the scale-up phase of commercialisation following the successful integration of its silicon (Si) technology in commercial graphite anodes.

In phase one, NEO will provide graphite/Si mixture anode materials with different levels of Si content for controllable anode specific capacity. 

NEO reports it has achieved ~500 mAh/g, at a 70% capacity enhancement.

Spencer Huh, president and CEO of NEO, said: “The development of our prototype is part of our research to increase the specific capacity of our high silicon content anodes with graphite, and we are also onto a new strategic move into integrating NEO’s silicon with solid-state electrolytes. 

“We are in discussion with parties in the industry to explore and discover potential synergies and mutual benefit for NEO’s silicon anode technology.”

The firm has also announced the initiation of a pilot plant project where it intends to use in-house resources to design and test equipment that will use its single-step Si nanocoating process.

Sung Rock Hwang, chief operating officer and senior vice president of NEO, said the goal of the project was to establish a basic pilot-scale coating process design and to check the feasibility of NEO’s nanocoating technology for metallurgical-grade silicon.

He added: “Moreover, we are further focusing on a cost-effective separation method since it will capture the largest portion of energy consumption during our nanocoating pilot process. 

“The pilot plant project aims to prove the capacity of the Company to produce various sized Si materials ranging from ~50 nanometers to several micron-sized Si materials that are strategically important to conventional liquid-based Li-ion batteries and next generation all-solid-state batteries (ASSBs).”

The company’s directors, scientific advisors, and engineers are in the process of working on the conceptual design of the pilot plant, which marks the first step towards realising wide-scale production. 

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Dutch firm produce 100% silicon anode for lithium-ion batteries

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 11:26 -- Paul Crompton

LeydenJar Technologies is ready to start producing new lithium-ion anode that can be made from 100% silicon while offering higher energy density.

The spinout from the Dutch applied research institute TNO, claims its breakthrough technology offers batteries with an energy density of 1350 Wh/L for more than 100 cycles at a C/2 rate. 

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Nexeon adds ‘Spice’ to silicon tech research

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 12:12 -- John Shepherd
Nexeon adds ‘Spice’ to silicon tech research

UK-based battery materials firm Nexeon is leading a project to optimise coating technology for its silicon material to boost the performance of battery cells.

Nexeon said the ‘Spice’ (Silicon Product Improvement through Coating Enhancement) project aims to extend the system compatibility of silicon anode materials, “allowing use of lower cost electrolyte formulations and lower overall battery cell costs”.

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Silicon firm Paraclete joins US labs’ anodes project

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 12:08 -- John Shepherd
Silicon firm Paraclete joins US labs’ anodes project

Silicon products supplier Paraclete Energy has been selected to join the US Office of Vehicle Technology’s next generation anodes consortium project.

US-based Paraclete said its silicon metal nanoparticle, with a silicon oxide coating and a particle size of ~150nm, has been selected for the consortium, which includes Argonne National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


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Nexeon wins EV battery research funding

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 10:14 -- Xuan Zhong
Nexeon wins EV battery research funding

UK-based battery materials firm Nexeon has been awarded GBP7million ($9.5m) to support research into silicon-based materials to increase the safety and range of batteries for electric vehicles.

Nexeon said the support from the government’s Innovate UK agency will support its work with partners on a project called ‘SUNRISE’ to develop improved materials, based on silicon as a replacement for carbon in the lithium-ion battery anode and optimising cell designs for automotive application.


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Semi-conductor material key to maximising lithium batteries

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 12:35 -- Paul Crompton
Semi-conductor material key to maximising lithium batteries

Extremely thin layers of silicon may hold the key to unlocking up to six times more capacity in lithium-ion batteries.

Silicon can help the battery’s anode reach its maximum load of lithium, claim scientists from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) Institute of Soft Matter and Functional Materials.

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