USA Today has confirmed an earlier unconfirmed report by Quartz that UK-based Dyson will acquire solid-state Li-ion battery startup Sakti3 (earlier post) for $90 million. Dyson invested $15 million in Sakti3 earlier this year.
James Dyson, founder and chief engineer of the eponymous manufacturing and technology company, told USA Today in an interview that Dyson plans to build a major battery factory and also plans to use Sakti3’s technology to improve the battery life on its cordless vacuums and to deliver new products. The acquisition, noted the report, will fuel speculation that Dyson possibly seek to become a supplier of electric-drivetrain technology.
In August 2014, Sakti3 announced that it had produced a battery cell on fully scalable equipment with more than 1100 Watt hours per liter (Wh/l) in volumetric energy density.
Although solid-state cells can address some of the issues attendant to using Li metal anodes—especially safety and cycle performance—such solid state cells have been difficult to make, and have not been successfully produced in large scale, Sakti3 noted in one of its patent applications.
|Dr. Ann Marie Sastry with President Obama at White House Demo Day, August 2015 Click to enlarge.|
Sakti3 is developing a thin-film manufacturing process using physical vapor deposition to lay down a cathode barrier, cathode current collector, cathode, electrolyte, anode, anode current collector, and anode barrier over a substrate.
As an example outlined in the patent application, Sakti3 describes using a lithium vanadium oxide cathode with a Li anode, the latter being overlaid with an anode barrier material of Li3PO4.
Our target is to achieve mass production of cells at ~$100/kWh. Our key patents on the technology have been issued, we are up and running on larger tooling, and can now speed up processing. Our first market will be consumer electronics, and after that, we’ll move to other sectors.—Dr. Ann Marie Sastry, CEO of Sakti3, in 2014
Dyson’s purchase of Sakti3 comes shortly after Bosch purchased another solid-state battery start-up, Seeo. (Earlier post.)