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CalBattery reports full cell testing on GEN3 Si-graphene anode material shows 525 Wh/kg; triple capacity while lowering battery cost up to 70%

26 October 2012

According to independent test results in full cell Li-ion batteries (LIBs), California Lithium Battery’s (CalBattery) new GEN3 silicon-graphene composite anode materials, used with advanced cathode and electrolyte materials, show an energy density of 525 Wh/kg and specific anode capacity of 1,250 mAh/g.

Earlier this year, CalBattery entered into a Work for Others (WFO) program with Argonne National Laboratory to commercialize an advanced Li-ion battery combining ANL’s Si-graphene anode materials with other advanced battery materials into a Very Large Format (400+ Ah) prismatic cell targeting grid-scale storage and EV applications. CalBattery has an option for exclusive and non-exclusive rights to the ANL Si-graphene process. (Earlier post.)

Argonne’s technology entails the use of an advanced gas phase deposition method that embeds nanoscale silicon particles into the graphene layers. This approach overcomes the traditional problems associated with high-energy density anodes, such as massive volume expansion, high first cycle inefficiency and severe capacity fade.

The independent full cell tests cited by the company suggest increases in energy density by around 3 times and specific anode capacity by around 4 times over existing LIBs. Current commercial LIBs have an energy density of between 100-180 Wh/kg and a specific anode capacity of 325 mAh/g.

The key to the new GEN3 battery material is the use of the Argonne silicon graphene process which stabilizes the use of silicon in a lithium battery anode. Although silicon absorbs lithium ten times better than any other anode materials it rapidly deteriorates during charge/discharge cycles. CalBattery has worked at Argonne and other facilities over the past year to develop this new anode material to work in a full LIB cell with multiple cathode and electrolyte materials.

The results of the development program at ANL leads CalBattery to suggest that this advanced anode material could eventually replace conventional graphite based anode materials used in most LIBs manufactured today. The novel composite anode material is suitable for use in combination with a variety of existing and new LIB cathode and electrolyte materials that will help improve overall battery performance and lower LIB cycle cost.

CalBattery is now in the process of commercializing its GEN3 battery anode material. Over the next two years the Company plans:

  1. to produce and sell its si-graphene anode material to global battery and EV OEMs; and

  2. US production of a limited quantity of specialized batteries for high-end applications.

We believe that our new advanced silicon graphene anode composite material is so good in terms of specific capacity and extended cycle life that it will become a graphite anode “drop-in” replacement material for anodes in most lithium-ion batteries over the next 2-3 years.

—CalBattery CEO Phil Roberts

CalBattery, a joint venture between California-based CALiB Power and Ionex Energy Storage Systems, is a portfolio start-up company headquartered at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), which was started by The City of LA and the LA Department of Water and Power in 2011. CalBattery plans to set up silicon graphene anode material and LIB manufacturing operations in the Los Angeles area based on interest in its advanced Li-ion battery material from US and international customers.

October 26, 2012 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (42) | TrackBack (0)

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That would be an actual "wow!".

I know that one day, that huge battery breakthrough will come. This is clearly one of those candidates for that breakthrough.

Now, let's just hope that this one, or something else good, turns out to be viable sooner rather than later.

"to produce and sell its si-graphene anode material to global battery and EV OEMs"

This is critical in getting technology to the market ASAP. Skip starting a battery factory and get your development into current product streams.

Great density. Could mean a 200 mile range EV with over 1/3rd less battery weight than the current <100 mile range EVs have to carry around.

I hope it's true and it look really promising. With that, windmills and solar panels, will find a good match because it will be less costly and more efficient to stock electricity for cars and homes. Bev drivers will like to recharge with solar and wind, less pollution and more free electricity.

Nice to be allowed on to comments and to read great equity raising headlines:

"CalBattery reports full cell testing on GEN3 Si-graphene anode material shows 525 Wh/kg; triple capacity while lowering battery cost up to 70%.."(how?)

and the number of ".. it rapidly deteriorates during charge/discharge cycles.." is two?, twenty?, two hundred? , two thousand?..

We get to guess.

Always/again, make/break battery specification(s) missing - not even a ballpark figure.

As usual, " “drop-in” replacement material for anodes.."
requires years of 'dropping'("..next 2-3 years"), for a start.

God I hope thats true and realy does work out.

525 Wh/kg; triple capacity while lowering battery cost up to 70%.."(how?)

1/3 the cells is 1/3 the cost for the same capacity.

I think the real kicker in this is the use of graphene on a large scale.  People have been talking about the stratospheric price of the stuff, but they always cite samples mounted for scientific testing.  Producing ton quantities of graphene with nanoscale Si on it is a whole 'nother thing.

"..used with advanced cathode and electrolyte materials.." could be 3 times as expensive, though 1/3 the cells sounds like a good guess, but why must we guess?

If the number of 80%+ discharge cycles are a small fraction of present cells, the new cells are of little improvement.

"over the past year to develop this new anode material to work in a full LIB cell with multiple cathode and electrolyte materials." is something LIB makers have been trying for decades longer than CalBattery's year.

If the material can be mass produced for 70% less with 3X to 4X the energy capacity, it could be one of the breakthrough that EVs have be waiting for. Many existing battery manufacturers will want to use it (and try to improve it).

Battery packs (100+ Kwh) with 500 Wh/Kg to 600 Wh/Kg would give existing and future EVs 500 Km to 800 Km range.

That's what was expected for 2017/2018?

Good point E-P. This advanced and very high tech material of nanoscale silicon embedded in graphene, may be very hard to produce in tonne-scale quantities. It may look fantastic in the lab with a few grams of material. There is not enough info in the press-release to determine the scale-up required.

I would only trust one OEM with an agreement to produce advance batteries for EVs; that would be Nissan because they have demonstrated the ability and the desire to produce EVs for the National market. Also, Nissan is not a member of The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers(AAM), who organize the U.S. auto makers, direct their activities and who in effect control our American Auto Industry.

Remember when GM bought the patents for NiMH batteries and stalled the EVs for years by selling the patents to Chevron Oil?

There is a lot going on behind the scenes in large format battery development and you can bet Big Oil is protecting their turf (profits) forcefully. If you think this is a theory, you are mentally blind.

It will be interesting to see what strings Big Oil will pull this time?

Given that they use the word "Drop-in" replacement, I would assume it has similar life cycle characteristics as current anodes. Though you know what they say about assuming things...

500+Wh/kg is pretty ridiculous though. It definitely makes EVs feasible. The 1/3 size and weight numbers look super appealing. I don't even know if someone would need a Leaf to drive 250 miles though - you'd just be better off around 200 miles and then cut the volume and weight a bit.

The headline says triple gravimetric energy density of battery while cut cost up to 70%.

This will be great for PHEV's that will have much less penalty for carrying a battery pack that will be much lighter, smaller and cheaper as well. The price differential between PHEV and ICEV will be so low that most people will choose PHEV instead, and that will be a real game changer. There is no need for a 250-mi Leaf, but a lower-cost PHEV, with good trunk space and no weight penalty, will be real nice for most people to start consider buying a PHEV.

Traditional Prius could be converted to the PHEV with same batterry size.
Instead of 15 miles would be 40 miles for PIP-that would be advantage.

@Roger Pham,

IMO a 200 mile LEAF would be much more of a game changer than a phev that weighs a bit less.

A 200-mile Leaf would still take several hours to recharge (though range anxiety would nearly vanish).

OTOH, there are two likelihoods at the other end of the electrification spectrum:

  • Hybridization suddenly gets a lot cheaper and easier to package.  This could make it a drop-in change for existing models, using the same space as the lead-acid starting battery.
  • Most hybrids on the road could be turned into decent plug-ins with a PC-brick-sized charger and a software upgrade (even mild hybrids could go with launch assist and remove alternator load).
Saving even 20% across the board with a change like this is huge, and it wouldn't just stop there.

The "“drop-in” replacement" phrase is annoying, considering it always then takes YEARS to “drop-in”, years to be in consumer hands, years to be publicly evaluated - if ever.

A Dollar Store D cell or Panasonic's best D cell is a "“drop-in” replacement", not years of unavailable, non-marketed, battery hype.

"increases in energy density by around 3 times and specific anode capacity by around 4 times over existing LIBs"

That apparently excludes 400 wh/kg Envia Systems battery, which also uses Argonne cathode technology, silicon anode, but not graphene. When you include Envia's LIB, 525 is not so surprising even though a 26% improvement.

When he's elected, will Romney will live up to his principles and halt this wastefull government spending on Argonne Laboratories?

HEVs and PHEVs are interim solutions. They will cease to be produced when affordable quick charge/discharge 100+ kWh storage units, with 600+ Wh/Kg batteries become available by 2020 or so

This type of (500+ Wh/Kg) batteries and many other improved versions (up to 1000 Wh/Kg) to follow in the next 10 to 15 years will sign the end of most ICEVs, HEVs and PHEVs much sooner than many expect.

The only way to stop this accelerated evolution would be with a concerted effort from current ICEVs and Big Oil supporters and interested lobby groups.

@Ann,
The Leaf will sure benefit from this technology. However, a 200-mi range Leaf will need about 48-kWh pack at least, and that will be 6 times the size the pack of a 20-mi range PHEV like the Ford C-Max Energi. Since it will take a lot of time and Lithium to build up such a capacity, a PHEV will realize petroleum independence much sooner. We can have 6 PHEV's on the road for the time it would take to build enough battery for 1 Leaf.

Secondly, battery calendar life is another equally important issue. The bigger the battery pack in a BEV, the longer the time it would take to consume all the cycle life of the battery, such that calendar-life loss will encroach and erode the financial investment in the pack. For 2000-3000 charging cycles pack in a PHEV charged twice daily, this will be consumed in 5-7 years, before calendar-life deterioration, and a new pack will be installed fresh and ready to go again.
In a 200-mi range vehicle driven 30-40 miles daily, it will take 5-7 days to use up one chanrging cycle, so, when the battery will need replacement in 10-12 years due to aging, a lot of battery life cycles will be loss, and investment in battery not recouped.

@Harvey D,
HEV's and PHEV's are separate and equally important solutions as BEV's, depending on the customers' preferences and geography and climates. ICE's are getting better and better and will make PHEV's more and more efficient in both modes. ICE's can run on NG, biomethane and H2 as well!

250 mile range in L.A. is reasonable, I know lots of people who drive that everyday in the course of their work - sales reps, architects, contractors, inspectors - anybody with who has to visit customers. I also know lots of folks with 100+ mile round trip commutes - who wants to sweat the last 20 miles if you start adding side trips. Plus L.A. also involves lots of hill driving between valleys. It's just a great safety factor.

"For 2000-3000 charging cycles pack in a PHEV charged twice daily, this will be consumed in 5-7 years, before calendar-life deterioration, and a new pack will be installed fresh and ready to go again."

Yes, and the new pack will be cheaper and better than the old pack, which may possibly be re-deployed or hopefully recycled.

PHEVs do the most good with the least resources. Six PHEVS versus one EV, the PHEVs get 100 MPGe and don't have range limitations.

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