Nexeon, a UK-based silicon anode company (earlier post), has completed the construction and commissioning of its process development and manufacturing facility at its headquarters in Oxfordshire. The plant is capable of producing more than 20 tonnes of product a year, and has been built to be highly versatile and able to handle a wide range of materials and reagents.
In addition to the manufacturing capability, the new facility includes integrated laboratories for Process Development and Material Characterization. The plant is certified to ISO9001 and ISO14001, and includes a Quality Assurance lab to ensure consistent quality of customer materials. End use applications planned include hybrid and electric vehicles and consumer electronic devices.
In keeping with the plant’s process development role, a fully flexible modular process design has been deployed throughout, and both conventional and novel reactor designs have been implemented. The project, which started in late 2012, has involved sourcing equipment from major suppliers in Germany, Switzerland, France and the UK.
This first class facility puts us in a very strong position to produce new materials for Li-ion cells, and to optimize the production processes that will be necessary for their commercial adoption. We now have the key engineering resources we need on-board, and eagerly look forward to sampling customers with products made in our new facility.—David Bent, Production Director at Nexeon
Nexeon, a spin-off from Imperial College London, has patented a unique way of structuring silicon so that it delivers extended cycle life and significantly increases battery capacity. Nexeon’s silicon structures overcome the previous problems of poor cycle life encountered when using silicon by mitigating the volume expansion issue.
Nexeon says it is developing a range of materials with differing morphologies and capacities. The first commercially available material is a low-cost silicon capable of capacities up to 1000 mAh/g. (A commercial 2600 mAh 18650 Li-ion cell today uses around 10g of graphite anode material; 2.6g of Nexeon’s first generation structured silicon can replace graphite.)
The planned second-generation material has a different morphology and has been optimized for even higher capacities of up to 3,600 mAh/g.