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Commercial battery material factory to boost US lithium-ion supply chain

Mon, 04/19/2021 - 10:46 -- Paul Crompton

Battery materials firm Group14 Technologies commissioned its first commercial-scale US manufacturing factory on 13 April in a bid to meet demand for lithium-silicon anode materials.

The new 27,000-square foot factory is located at the firm’s headquarters in Washington.

The facility will manufacturer the firm’s SCC55™ silicon-carbon composite material for lithium-ion battery markets.

Rick Costantino, CTO of Group14 Technologies, said, compared to conventional graphite in lithium-ion batteries, the material offered around 1,150 Wh/L, while standard graphite offers around 650Wh/L— boosting energy density by 70% over thousands of cycles.  

He told BEST: “To your point about the blend, SCC55™ can be implemented as a blend with graphite or fully loaded in the anode battery to act as a full displacement of graphite. 

“What we’re saying is that battery manufacturers can choose to use SCC55™ as a blend, and with 20% of SCC55™ and 80% of graphite, the results show a 30% energy density boost.

“SCC55™ has undergone various third-party lab testing that has validated that the lithium-silicon anode material when used as a full displacement — with SCC55™ replacing 100% of the anode active material —  can deliver a tremendous 70% energy boost compared to traditional lithium ion batteries.”

The factory is capable of producing 120 tons per year of the company’s SCC55 technology, which keeps silicon in the amorphous, nano-sized, and carbon-encased form.

The factory was already making SCC55 for consumer electronics and automotive manufacturers. 

Battery suppliers are conducting validation process of 82Ah automotive batteries using SCC55 as a blend or full displacement of traditional battery anodes for EV applications.

Later this year, Group14 plans to break ground on its second commercial factory co-located at REC Silicon’s Moses Lake plant in Washington State.

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