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Amprius launches new high-capacity and high-energy-density Li-ion batteries with silicon anodes

21 May 2013

Amprius1
Amprius’ plan, outlined at the DOE Merit Review in 2012, is to start with consumer electronics and move to vehicle and grid storage markets. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.

Amprius Inc., a developer of lithium-ion batteries using silicon nanowire anodes (earlier post), has launched the first generation of its high-capacity and high-energy-density Li-ion batteries. The company has begun supplying smartphone and tablet OEMs with its first first two product families, based on an 1,850 mAh (580 Wh/L) battery and a 4,060 mAh (600 Wh/L) battery. Amprius has also signed contracts with its OEM customers to design batteries that meet custom specifications.

The company has also demonstrated greater than 650 and 700 Wh/L batteries with its second-generation and third-generation technology platforms. Amprius plans to begun pilot production of its second-generation batteries later this year.

Amprius' first-generation batteries are made with silicon anodes—not silicon nanowire anodes, which will appear in the subsequent generations.

Amprius’ technology was initially developed at Professor Yi Cui’s laboratory at Stanford University (earlier post); Prof. Cui is a founder of the company.

Although silicon has more than 10x the theoretical capacity of carbon (4,200 mAh/g compared to 370 mAh/g), lithium ion insertion causes silicon to swell up to 400% when charged. This swelling causes bulk silicon structures to fracture, diminishing battery life after just a few cycles. Structured as nanowires, however, silicon is able to swell without breaking.

In 2009, Amprius received $3 million from NIST to support the development of a unique, high-throughput, continuous manufacturing process for producing the novel, nanostructured silicon-based anode material for lithium batteries.

Amprius is excited to work closely with OEM manufacturers to make high energy battery technologies available to consumers. We will soon increase our manufacturing capacity to meet increasing customer demand for our high capacity and high energy density batteries.

We continue to focus on silicon anode-based technologies. Amprius is also collaborating with Professor Yi Cui’s lab at Stanford University and industrial partners worldwide to develop high energy density cathodes, advanced electrochemical systems, high performance separators, and innovative manufacturing processes.

—Dr. Kang Sun, Amprius CEO

Amprius has an R&D lab in Sunnyvale, California and an R&D lab and a pilot production line for advanced battery development in Nanjing, China. Amprius is financed by leading investors including Trident Capital, VantagePoint Capital Partners, IPV Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

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May 21, 2013 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)

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Finally, the first next-gen li-ion anode material has reached the market.

I hope we will hear about the countless other breakthrough materials we have read about in the recent years.

Yes, this could be the first of many more new technology improved batteries to come to the market during the current decade, starting with smaller units for electronic gadgets, and a few years latter, with larger units for extended range EVs etc?

Imagine a Tesla Model S, X, Y or Z with those improved batteries?

But, as usual....they leave out lots of interesting and important details:
Wh/kg? Cycles?
All we know from this is the volume if these batteries and that the "theoretical energy density of silicon is better than carbon" lol

I'm sure these are good batteriesfor this application, but they are ignoring what are probably some limitations for other applications. They'd brag like hell if that wasn't the case.

@DaveD:
Have another look at the diagram provided.
It is clear that the cycle life is only ~500, enough for this application but as the illustration shows they are aware that they need a lot more for cars etc.

This is only one early version. many more improved variants will be developed in the next 10 years or so.

The world can expect 5-5-5 EV batteries in about 10 years and 10-10-10 EV batteries in about 20 years?

I looked at the 2012 DOE Merit review presentation, and they had full-cell capacity at 80% a little after 500 cycles (~530 cycles). 500 cycles is barely enough for an long-range EV application - for example, if you upgraded a Model S with these batteries, it might get around 300 miles EPA range (up from 265 now). 300 miles * 500 cycles is about 150,000 miles, more assuming you lower the depth of discharge to 80% most of the time and the degradation/cycle life relationship is non-linear (the lower the DoD, the more cycles you get out of the battery).

I looked up one of the current battery cell leader (that's actually in production) - Panasonic NCR18650B 3350mAh 3.6V - 12Wh for a single 18650 cell, 700 Wh/L, 250Wh/kg.

If Amprius batteries can get to 700Wh/L, its likely they'll be around 250Wh/kg. That's the 2020 DOE target if I recall, six years early. Cycle life would need to increase to 1000 to hit mainstream EVs though (a Leaf-style vehicle could get 125 miles of range, and 125,000 miles out of the battery).

I'd assume since the DOE review is one year old the data is out of date.

Yeah, the 2013 DOE merit review is going on now (where this news came from) but they haven't posted the slide decks from the various companies - Amprius, Ford, GM, LG Chem, etc. that are involved in the program.

" 300 miles * 500 cycles is about 150,000 miles,"

Over six times around the earth and 80% battery charge-ability left covers a few ICE overhauls, tuneups, and ring jobs.

150,000 miles is one timing-belt and water-pump replacement in a VW diesel.  The engine should be good for at least two of those and then some.

I expect the cycle life of the silicon nanowire material to be much better.

This first generation product is more of a let's get our feet wet manufacturing and selling a silicon anode battery. I believe this the first commercially available silicon anode lithium ion battery and therefore a significant milestone.

Lets hope Amprius can ramp energy density quickly enough to compete with Panasonic and Samsung and be a major player in the industry.

Diesel is not necessarily inexpensive ICE.. http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-9267.html ..
"Best case scenario - $300 for timing belt kit (with all the goodies, water pump, engine mount bolts, etc...), then another ~$950 for the head kit (new head w/cam, vavles, etc...). Here's where it hurts: this is a $6,000+ job at the dealer."

@Davemart,
Yeah, I was looking at it on my phone and it was a bit hard to read that tiny graph on there. Frankly, I was hoping someone could tell me something I was missing and that it was much better.
I think that Hrandy is right...this is a way to get their feet wet in the market.

I got 326,000 miles on my last GM pickup and had no major overhauls. I did change the waterpump and the spark plugs at least once but did not have to change the alternator or the starter. Also, the GM engines do not use a belt to drive the cams so that is never a problem. The vehicle was used as a work truck so it was not babied and was driven off-road with heavy loads.

Kelly, the 100k mile overhaul on a Passat TDI cost me about $1000 a few years ago (labor included).  Head replacement is only required if the timing belt breaks, not if its a scheduled replacement.

“covers a few ICE overhauls, tuneups, and ring jobs. ”

Let me know when all but a few BEV get go 150k miles without a major repair or preventive maintenance.

The problem with 'new' cars is that they do not stay new very long. Our Corolla (does not have a timing belt) has 130k with no repairs but we decided to put $800 to replace plugs, wires ect. We also have two beater cars one driven by a teenage boy for three years. Neither of those have used a quart of oil in 6 months.

So what are my choices. I could spend $40k for the BEV version of a beater car (one you can not trust to drive far from home). The assumption when I paid $1200 for my 89 Ford Ranger is that I would drive it till destruction. I have not touched the spark plugs, wires, belts, or hoses in ten years.

The point here is that hypothetical reason for buying a BEV do not fare very well against real experience of the ICE.

Anyone comparing a new EV to a used ICE is obviously not interested in a rational discussion.

What do you call a new Ev when you park it in front of your house?

A: A used car!

The interesting thing about GCC is the lack of a rational approach among those who post here to reducing the environmental impact of transportation.

@KP,
Fossil fuel's reserve is limited. Zero-carbon energy sources for EV's and FCV's are unlimited. ICEV are inherently polluting that requires a lot of effort to make them clean. However, when an ICEV aged, the emission control system loses efficiency and the clunker will become a "stinker", spewing out noxious fumes, as well as polluting oil leaks. Some poor people change their own oil and polluting the ground and water by illegal dumping of the oil.

With a PHEV or a BEV using zero-carbon energy sources, the car will remain pollution-free for the entire life of the car. The car will last many lifetimes of a comparable ICEV without any effort. To make an ICEV lasting several hundred thousand miles will require a lot of effort. You, Sir, are a good engineer and have good hands and good engine-sense, so your ICEV's will last for a long time, plus you are a gentle driver. The same cannot be said of a typical ICEV owner, who abuses their car while neglecting maintenance schedule.

2013 is coming to its end,any news about silicon nanowires version of these batteries?
where can I buy these batteries?

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