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DOE selects SiiLion for $1M SBIR Phase II award; ionic-liquid-enabled high-energy li-ion battery

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected SiiLion, Inc. to receive a $1-million Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) Phase II award. The company is developing high-energy batteries featuring pure silicon anodes and high voltage cathodes—including lithium-manganese-rich and nickel-rich chemistries—enabled using a non-flammable ionic liquid electrolyte.

SiiLion was one of 23 companies receiving a 2016 SBIR FY 2016 Phase II award. The $1-million awards are intended to help small businesses advance promising concepts toward commercialization. SiiLion had received a $150,000 SBIR Phase I award in 2015.

SiiLion is a recent spin-out of CU-Boulder with exclusive rights to its technology developed at the University. The company is focused on developing highly compatible electrode-electrolyte sets to address the challenge of next-generation Li-ion batteries.

The SBIR Phase II project focuses on the refinement and scale-up of the company’s proposed >800 Wh/L, <$200/kWh non-flammable Li-ion battery.

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Conceptual positioning of the SiiLion technology. Source: SiiLion. Click to enlarge.

During the Phase I project, the company developed a novel lithium-ion battery comprising a Si anode, an imide-based room temperature ionic liquid electrolyte, and a highly energy-dense Li-Mn-rich cathode. The system allows for the use of large particle size micron-Si (μSi), which requires minimal processing, with accompanying lower costs.

Preliminary research showed that the Li-Mn-rich room temperature ionic liquid system exhibited stable cycling and significant hindrance of the voltage fade mechanism that plagues high voltage Li-Mn-rich electrode materials. The technology results in a full-cell having a specific energy approaching 400 Wh/kg with the added benefit of a non-flammable room temperature ionic liquid electrolyte.

At the end of the Phase I SBIR work plan, SiiLion produced a 200 mAh Si/Li-Mn-rich pouch-cell demonstrating the high commercial potential of its key technologies.

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