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solid-state

Nissan aiming for $65/kWh solid-state lithium-ion battery pack and cobalt free cells by 2028

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 13:26 -- Paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM Nissan is targeting a $75/kWh cobalt-free and solid-state lithium-ion battery for its electric vehicles by the close of the decade.

Nissan aims to develop its lithium-ion battery technologies and introduce cobalt-free technology to reach the figure by fiscal year 2028.

Nissan believes solid-state battery packs could be as cheap as $75/kWh by 2028, and aims to bring the cost down to $65/kWh in a bid to achieve cost parity between EV and gasoline vehicles.

These are high ambitions, as a BNEF report this month noted that real term lithium-ion battery pack prices had reached $132/kWh this year— but rising raw material prices could mean the mythologised $100/kWh price may not materialise until 2026.

Japanese firm Nissan plans to launch an EV fitted with its proprietary all-solid-state batteries and is preparing a pilot plant in Yokohama, Japan as early as 2024. 

Some of the price goal will depend on Nissan’s economy-of-scale, with the vehicle maker working with its partners to increase its global battery production capacity to 52GWh by 2026, and 130GWh four years later.

Nissan also intends to expand its battery refurbishing facilities beyond Japan with new locations in Europe next year, and in the US in 2025 to support its circular economy in energy management.

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Global patent activity shows growing interest in solid-state lithium-ion batteries

Mon, 11/29/2021 - 14:20 -- Paul Crompton

Japan is leading the world in solid-state lithium-ion battery development, at least according to the latest figures regarding patent filing from intellectual property firm Appleyard Lees.

Data-to-date research shows Japan filed the highest number of new patents in 2020, followed by China, the US and South Korea. 

European countries are lagging behind, with Germany having the highest number of filings but still underperforming when compared to the leading market players, according to Appleyards. 

The full dataset for 2020 is not yet available, however data from two years ago showed solid-state battery patent applications have grown exponentially since 2013, peaking at around 600 new applications in 2019.

The claims were made in Appleyard’s ‘Inside Green Innovation: Progress Report 2021’.

The report stated: “It’s important to note that although the number of yearly, new filings for solid-state batteries is still significantly lower than those for lithium-ion batteries, the former should soon surpass the latter. 

“Arguably, this may have already happened in jurisdictions outside China. This reflects its potential as a key innovation, particularly for EV markets.” 

Assignees of applications for solid state batteries include car manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, which have filed new patent applications in recent years. 

Companies such as Japanese electronics manufacturers Murata MFG Japan, TDK and battery maker FDK are also filing solid-state applications. 

The most rapid growth in recent years has come from Chinese automotive supplier and battery cell manufacturer Svolt Energy Tech, which established its European production site in Germany in 2019. 

Overall, Svolt has filed over 550 patents worldwide, indicating its ambition to be a key player in the EV market. 

Lithium-ion battery applications

The report noted the recent top patent filers for lithium-ion batteries within China are major players in the automobile industry, with Hefei Guoxuan, Ningde Amperex Technology Ltd. and BYD subsidiaries manufacturing battery products suitable for vehicles and their electronic management systems.

Outside China, German engineering and technology firm Robert Bosch is a key assignee for lithium-ion technologies, consistently filing among the largest numbers of priority filings each year in the past ten years, according to the report.

As in China, car manufacturers are notable applicants, and include: General Motors (US), Toyota (Japan) and BMW (Germany). 

The report noted: “Even among the largest assignees, filing numbers have remained relatively low in recent years. It’s unclear whether the notable dip from 2020 onwards is due to an incomplete dataset or if R&D has been affected by supply chain and manufacturing issues.” 

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QuantumScape validates solid-state lithium-metal battery claims with third-party test results

Mon, 11/08/2021 - 10:45 -- Paul Crompton

Battery developer QuantumScape Corporation has released results from an independent third-party laboratory testing report on the performance of its solid-state lithium-metal battery cells.

The firm’s single-layer cells met automotive-relevant conditions, achieving more than 800 cycles— roughly equivalent to 240,000 miles driven for a 300-mile range vehicle, say the firm.

The results, from testing conducted by Mobile Power Solutions, go some way to answering questions over the company’s technology, or at least its claimed progress. 

The results reflect a complete cycle-life test that demonstrates conditions the company believe must be met, which include: operating at 25 °C, 1C (one hour) charge/discharge rates (with energy retention maintained at more than 80%), 100% depth of discharge and under 3.4 atmospheres of pressure.

Jagdeep Singh, CEO and co-founder of QuantumScape, said: “We are happy that these independent test results substantially replicate the cycling performance we reported at our December 2020 Battery Showcase.

“With the publication of this report, we will continue to focus on our product roadmap goals and delivering cells to our customers.”

Mobile Power Solutions is an independent battery laboratory, ANAB accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2017, based in Beaverton, Oregon.

The full cycle life test report from Mobile Power Solutions is available here.

Quantumscape believe the results, covering a group of three single-layer cells, are consistent with those initially reported by it last December, and subsequently questioned the following month.

The company’s stock price tumbled by around 41% on 4 January following a report on Seeking Alpha website by Dr Brian Morin, CEO of Soteria Battery Innovation Group, that questioned the technology’s capabilities.

At the time, Morin said that QuantumScape’s technology did not meet its claimed data on low temperature operation, low temperature life and energy density.

He said in the Seeking Alpha report: “They show 100 or so cycles at -100C. Respectable, except that these cycles are at C/5 charge and C/3 discharge. Thus, not 80% in 15 minutes, but rather 5% charge in 15 minutes.”

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Sakuú announces pilot facility as it scales up solid-state lithium-ion battery ambition

Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:25 -- Paul Crompton

Construction of a US solid-state lithium-ion battery pilot line and learning center is being built by additive manufacturing company Sakuu Corporation.

The US firm’s (previously named KeraCel) pilot line will be able to produce up to 2.5MWh of solid-state batteries per year and serve as a customer learning center for its advanced additive manufacturing platform. 

The facility is due to be operational by end of 2021.

Sakuú is aiming to produce solid-state batteries that are up to 50% smaller and 30% lighter than lithium-ion batteries, although the firm didn’t give any figures to back up that promise.

The pilot line will test the viability of the battery manufacturing process and enable Sakuú to deliver sample products to its “early access strategic partners”.

The second phase is expected next year and will use an array of Sakuú AM Platforms to produce up to 1GWh of solid-state battery capacity per year.

Sakuú is working with Relevant Industrial and Honeywell Process Solutions to design and develop the facility by scaling-up the laboratory environment into a fully functioning pilot manufacturing plant.

Relevant and Honeywell will provide engineering, process design, systems integration, and process manufacturing expertise to efficiently build the factory.

Robert Bagheri CEO and founder of Sakuú, said: “This is an important milestone for us. Our technology development has progressed to the level where we have decided to move ahead with our plan to construct and operate a pilot facility. 

“This facility will enable us to provide our strategic customers and early access partners with solid-state batteries for their own development and testing."

New cell developed

Last month, Sakuu announced it has developed a 3Ah lithium-metal solid-state battery (SSB).

Sakuú has been developing its first generation battery technology alongside its additive manufacturing platform, and aims for commercial launch by the end of this year. 

The first-generation batteries comprise 30 sub-cells and a proprietary printed ceramic separator. 

The battery will be targeted to consumer, aerospace, mobility, and other applications.

Bagheri said: “Over the last year, we have improved our battery energy capacity by a factor of 100 and our volumetric energy efficiency over 12 times and are planning to begin volume production of the batteries in early 2022 to meet the needs of our strategic partners."

In June, the California-based firm won approval of three patents: a hybrid solid-state cell with a sealed anode structure; an additive manufacturing system; and an electrophotographic multi-material 3D printer. 

This latest patent is for a monolithic ceramic electrochemical cell housing an anode and cathode receptive space, alongside a separator between the two— allowing for higher charging rates without the risk to safety posed by lithium-ion batteries. 

This is in addition to two previous battery patents for an integrated cell stack battery and monolithic solid-state battery, which were granted back in 2020. 

The second patent for a three-dimensional AM system, allows for patterned single layers to be assembled into a three-dimensional active device onto an assembly plate. The patent includes a carrier substrate which allows for single layers to be built separately and then dispensed on a stack on the assembly plate. 

The final patent is an electrophotographic three-dimensional printer system that can be used to create a 3D part derived from a composite toner material. 

The new patent allows for the use of multiple engineering materials, such as ceramic, metal and polymer materials, which electrophotography was previously unable to employ.

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Solid-state lithium-ion company to go public after merger with blank cheque firm

Fri, 06/25/2021 - 16:36 -- Paul Crompton
Solid-state lithium-ion company to go public after merger with blank cheque firm

The battery industry’s gradual transition to solid-state lithium-ion technology continues this week with Solid Power signing a deal to become a publicly listed company.

The producer of all-solid-state batteries is due to trade on NASDAQ following a merger with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III (DRC), a blank cheque firm sponsored by an affiliate of energy-focused private investment firm Riverstone Holdings.

Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company’s common stock and warrants are expected to trade under the ticker symbol “SLDP”, and is expected to have a nine-person board composed of a majority of independent directors and will continue to be led by its existing management team.

Cash proceeds to Solid Power will be used to fund operations and support its growth.

The boards of directors of both Solid Power and DCRC have approved the proposed transaction, which is due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021. 

Robert Tichio, chairman of the board of DCRC and partner at Riverstone Holdings, said, “Solid-state batteries have long been the elusive technology breakthrough in the battery category for the better part of a decade. 

“Countless labs, scientists, ventures and corporates have claimed progress towards scalable solid-state batteries, with an emphasis on claims. No other known company has made the type of commercialisation achievements in all-solid-state batteries that Solid Power has.”

In May, Solid Power announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies. 

Ford and the BMW Group also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all-solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles. 

Transaction Overview 

The business combination values Solid Power at an implied $1.2 billion pro forma enterprise value. Upon closing of the transaction and assuming no redemptions by DCRC public stockholders, Solid Power is expected to have approximately $600 million in cash, including a $165 million fully committed PIPE transaction anchored by investors Koch Strategic Platforms, Riverstone Energy Limited, Neuberger Berman funds and Van Eck Associates Corporation. 

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QuantumScape hires Mikolajczak to lead transition at solid-state battery pre-pilot facility

Wed, 06/09/2021 - 11:31 -- Paul Crompton
Solid-state battery hopeful QuantumScape has appointed Celina Mikolajczak as its vice president of manufacturing engineering.

Solid-state battery hopeful QuantumScape has appointed Celina Mikolajczak as its vice president of manufacturing engineering.

Mikolajczak will lead the transition of the company’s tools and manufacturing processes from research and development to production. 

Her primary projects will involve the deployment of the high-throughput continuous-flow processes at QuantumScape’s pre-pilot line facility in San Jose, US. 

As part of the transition to the company’s leadership team, Mikolajczak is resigning her seat on the QuantumScape board of directors, effective immediately.

Mikolajczak was most recently vice president of engineering and battery technology at Panasonic Energy of North America. 

She was a senior manager, battery technologies at Tesla.

Jagdeep Singh, CEO and co-founder of QuantumScape, said: “Celina is not only a battery technology expert, having spent virtually her entire career at leading battery-related companies, but has a profound understanding of what it takes to scale up battery production.”

Mikolajczak joins Clayton Patch, who started as vice president of manufacturing at the company in May.

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UK solid-state battery developer signs agreement to scale-up pouch cell development

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 12:08 -- Paul Crompton

UK battery developer Ilika has signed a framework agreement with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to support the scale-up of the former’s Goliath solid-state pouch cells.

The framework agreement sets up a plan for the companies to work together on solid-state cells and includes the ability for Ilika to set up a production line at the BIC in the facilities planned during Phase 2 of the UKBIC’s expansion. 

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Solid-state lithium-ion battery developer appoints head of marketing

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 11:46 -- Paul Crompton

Solid-state lithium-ion battery developer QuantumScape has named Asim Hussain as its chief marketing officer.

The former VP of commercial strategy at hydrogen and fuel cell energy storage firm Bloom Energy will now head up marketing at QuantumScape, which merged with special purchase acquisition company (SPAC) Kensington Capital Acquisition in September at an enterprise value of $3.3 billion.

QuantumScape, which is backed by Bill Gates and Volkswagen, claims its lithium-metal battery has an energy density exceeding 400Wh/kg.

Hussain said on his LinkedIn page: “I joined Bloom to work to bring solid oxide fuel cells to the market and the world. For my next adventure, I am continuing the solid-state breakthrough energy technology theme. 

“I begin my new role at QuantumScape, a company with a revolutionary solid-state lithium-metal battery technology that will transform the energy storage landscape, starting with making EVs accessible, affordable, and safe for the mass market.”

Scientists use algorithm to identify potential solid electrolyte materials for lithium-ion batteries

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 12:49 -- Paul Crompton

Theoretical scientists at Stanford University have identified a new class of materials that could lead to the development of more efficient solid-state lithium-ion batteries.

The materials—lithium, boron and sulfur— were identified after the team used a computer algorithm to screen more than 12,000 lithium-containing compounds in a materials database. 

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Ampcera a step closer to commercialising its solid electrolyte technology for solid-state lithium-ion batteries

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 12:59 -- Paul Crompton

Battery electrolyte developer Ampcera has announced the latest step in the commercialisation of its flexible solid electrolyte (SE) membrane technology for solid-state lithium-ion batteries. 

The US firm claims its solid-state electrolyte (SSE) has the potential to enable solid-state lithium metal batteries to achieve an energy density of 500Wh/kg while reducing cost to below $100/kWh.  

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