UK-based materials company Ilika, also a developer of solid-state batteries, is taking part in a three-year project to develop protected anodes for lithium sulfur batteries, led by Johnson Matthey Plc and supported by Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). £365,133 (US$475,000) of the grant will be used to fund project activities at Ilika.
This project will develop an innovative approach to protected lithium anodes, via Ilika’s high-throughput materials development technique, to discover new electrolyte composition options and fabricate a free-standing, lithium-containing protected anode/separator for integration into pouch cells.
The novel protected anode will mitigate a commonly experienced problem in lithium-sulfur cells—the polysulfide shuttle effect—leading to enhanced performance cells that can be made with existing cell fabrication methods. The pouch cells being developed in this project are high capacity, low cost batteries for large scale renewable energy storage and therefore address a distinct market segment to the Internet of Things (IoT) applications for which Ilika’s Stereax batteries are designed.
The Ilika Stereax roadmap focuses on three main battery requirements: miniaturization; capacity in a small footprint; and increased performance. The capacity roadmap increases the amount of energy for a given active footprint by utilizing Ilika’s patented stacking feature, which allows multiple cells to be stacked on top of one another. The performance roadmap focuses on higher energy density solutions that have additional requirements such as extended temperature range support.
|Stereax Battery Technology. Click to enlarge.
The Stereax M250 is the first battery which is available for licensing. Ilika Stereax batteries use patented materials and processes enabling superior energy density per battery footprint, up to 40% improvement on current solid state solutions, and increased temperature range support to over 100°C, 30°C higher than existing solid state products.
|Ilika and Toyota
|Since 2008, Ilika has been working with Toyota on the development of novel battery chemistries. Using the Ilika High Throughput Physical Vapor Deposition (HT-PVD) platform, Ilika and Toyota’s Battery Research Division, have worked on a joint development project to synthesize, characterise and optimize thin film, solid-state lithium-ion electrolyte materials to develop the next generation of batteries for EVs and PHEVs.
|With Ilika’s HT-PVD facility, Toyota has been able to develop advanced electrode and electrolyte materials for lithium-ion batteries in a far quicker and more efficient way than traditional materials discovery processes.
|Ilika’s HT-PVD platform uses high-throughput or combinational techniques which involve the rapid synthesis of a large number of different structurally related materials in a few automated steps. The deposition of all elements occurs simultaneously and the composition profile can be carefully carried across the substrate in a controlled manner.
Other partners in the project are Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd, the University of Oxford and the University of Warwick.
Ilika plc is a pioneer in materials innovation and has been inventing new materials for energy and electronics applications for more than a decade, including in automotive, aeronautical and electronic components sectors. Global brands such as Rolls Royce and Toyota have long-term collaborations with Ilika’s development teams.
Ilika has also developed solid-state battery technology to meet the specific demands of a wide range of applications in the Internet of Things (IoT). Ilika is now licensing its battery technology IP to partners for IoT sensors for the Smart Home/Building; Medical; Automotive and Transportation sectors around the world.
Ilika is headquartered in the UK and has operations in Germany, US and Japan.
Johnson Matthey Plc is a global speciality chemicals company and a leader in sustainable technologies. Using its expertise in chemistry and advanced materials, the company develops a range of high value added, high technology products and services, including high performance battery systems.