A123 Venture Technologies to collaborate with SolidEnergy on safer, high-energy battery chemistry; potentially up to ~800 Wh/kg
22 October 2013
A123 Venture Technologies, a Massachusetts-based technology incubator, will collaborate with MIT startup SolidEnergy. This strategic partnership leverages SolidEnergy’s solid electrolyte technology which enables the safe and practical use of lithium metal anodes for high energy density batteries in a wide range of applications. This partnership also marks the first publicly announced agreement under A123’s expanded R&D model introduced earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
The partnership combines SolidEnergy’s Solid Polymer Ionic Liquid (SPIL) electrolyte—originally developed at MIT—with the mature cell design and prototyping capabilities of A123. As claimed by founder Dr. Qichao Hu in the company’s presentation at the US DOE’s 2012 National Clean Energy Business Competition, SolidEnergy technology can potentially deliver energy densities of up to 800 Wh/kg—twice the energy density of state-of-the-art batteries and four times the energy density compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries.
The companies plan to jointly produce consumer electronics battery prototypes within the next year, followed by electric vehicle battery prototypes. SolidEnergy staff will also be hosted in A123’s Waltham, Massachusetts development facility. Test results are expected to be ready for discussion with target customers in the latter part of 2014.
SPIL. The SolidEnergy prototype battery combines a Li(NiMnCo)O2 (NMC) cathode; the novel electrolyte; and a solid-polymer-coated lithium metal anode. The electrolyte combines ionic liquid and liquid polymer to provide both the safety and wide temperature capability required for advanced batteries, while the solid-polymer-coated lithium anode significantly boosts energy density and cycle life.
|“So what’s wrong with batteries today? One is safety—they blow up. Second is energy density. They don’t last long enough.” |
—Dr. Qichao Hu
The polymer and ionic liquid both have low vapor pressure and are safe up to 300 °C, while the solid polymer coating on the lithium metal anode prevents dendrite growth.
SolidEnergy PIL batteries are cathode-independent, but compatible with current and future cutting-edge cathodes.
SolidEnergy, founded in 2012, decided to partner with A123 Venture Technologies for its world-class labs, innovation and rapid scale-up experience, and battery design expertise. A123 Venture Technologies’ incubator business model was launched last spring at MIT’s Knowledge Foundation conference as a way to provide start-ups with access to its development facilities, battery know-how, and market access in exchange for services revenue, equity and cooperation on commercialization.
Additionally, both A123 and SolidEnergy began with MIT research, making this partnership a natural fit.
A123 Systems LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wanxiang Group, is a leading developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems for transportation, electric grid and lead-acid replacement applications. The company’s proprietary Nanophosphate lithium iron phosphate technology is built on novel nanoscale materials initially developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is designed to deliver high power and energy density, increased safety and extended life.
US patent application Nº 20130236764: Rechargeable lithium battery for wide temperature operation
Hu, Qichao (2012) Electrode-Electrolyte Interfaces in Solid Polymer Lithium Batteries (Doctoral dissertation)
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