3M investing in development and manufacturing of silicon anode technology for higher-capacity Li-ion batteries
15 March 2012
3M is investing in the research and manufacturing of novel silicon (Si)-based anode materials for Li-ion batteries. 3M was recently granted another US patent (8,071,238) for its silicon-based anode compositions that can increase cell capacity by more than 40% when matched with high-energy battery cathodes. (Earlier post.)
The new patent, “Silicon-containing alloys useful as electrodes for lithium-ion batteries”, covers a composite electrode material with the formula SixSnqMyCz where q, x, y, and z represent atomic percent values and (a) (q+x)>2y+z; (b) q≧0, (c) z≧0; and (d) M is one or more metals selected from manganese, molybdenum, niobium, tungsten, tantalum, iron, copper, titanium, vanadium, chromium, nickel, cobalt, zirconium, yttrium, or a combination thereof.
The Si, Sn, M, and C elements are arranged in the form of a multi-phase microstructure comprising: (a) an amorphous phase comprising silicon; (b) a nanocrystalline phase comprising a metal silicide; and (c) a phase comprising silicon carbide phase when z>0; and (d) an amorphous phase comprising Sn when q>0.
3M says that its current Si alloy anode materials offer twice the volumetric and gravimetric energy density of graphite anodes, and can increase cell capacity by 20% or more, depending on cathode energy density and cell design.
The company has invested resources and expertise toward commercialization of battery technology for the past 15 years. 3M’s investments into the high-energy metal-based anode for lithium ion batteries include matching a recent US Department of Energy (DOE) grant for $4.6 million as part of efforts to build more energy-efficient vehicles. (Earlier post.)
The research will help to develop and integrate new cell materials that will make a transformative change in energy density and in cost in lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles. Especially critical to the project success is 3M’s Si-based anode material. The 3M investment in research and development includes putting in 3M’s best battery materials technology for cathode, anode and battery electrolyte additives into the project.
3M has a proven track record of being an innovator in battery materials, and we are committed to supporting the growing US and global lithium-ion battery industry. Our investment into research and development, coupled with our experience and portfolio of more than 40 core technologies—including nanotechnology, adhesives, precision coating, fluoromaterials—give us the tools and confidence in our ability to develop next-generation materials for better cells.—Chris Milker, business development manager for 3M Electronic Markets Materials Division
In addition to its investment in research and development, 3M recently completed the first phase of silicon anode manufacturing capacity expansion in early 2012 in its Cottage Grove, Minn., facility. The expansion included the installation of large-scale manufacturing equipment specialized to 3M and its proprietary anode chemistry. The US-based facility will provide Si anode material to 3M’s global battery customers.
3M has developed three critical battery materials used in lithium ion batteries. These include silicon anode chemistry; novel cathode technologies (nickel, manganese, cobalt); and electrolyte (salts and additives).
Besides battery cathode, anode and electrolyte technologies, 3M also offers tapes and adhesives for assembly of consumer electronics and fluids to manage heat during the manufacture of electronic devices.
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