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Silatronix awarded Navy ONR contract for organosilicon electrolytes to enable safe, high-stability LTO Li-ion batteries; 48V system potential

Silatronix, a developer of unique organosilicon (OS) electrolytes for use in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) (earlier post), recently was awarded a $1-million contract from the US Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR). Under the contract, Silatronix will apply OS electrolytes in LTO anode systems to improve their commercial viability by addressing their poor high temperature performance while maintaining the other attractive performance attributes of LTO technology.

Silatronix CEO Mark Zager noted that while Navy applications are the focus of this research, there are many more commercial applications in which LTO could potentially be applied to improve high temperature performance. One such application is with 48V, under-hood automotive start-stop batteries.

This application target, specified by the USABC, has challenged Li-ion battery manufacturers for years. The high powered, fast charging and long cycling life of LTO coupled with the temperature stability of OS-enabled electrolytes could be an ideal solution. This improved performance should broaden the commercial appeal of LTO, helping to make it a more cost competitive solution as well.

—Mark Zager

The US Navy has a growing need for high performance batteries that can support the increased electrification of naval systems. Radar, communications, weapons, propulsion, and navigation systems all contribute to this demand, but require safe reliable performance over a wide temperature range. Accordingly, some of these systems are currently supported by a large deployment of lead acid batteries.

High-performance batteries that can safely deliver improvements in power and energy density with lower total cost of ownership (compared to lead acid) are in great demand for current and future Navy energy storage needs. Li-ion batteries are a leading candidate to meet these needs. Unfortunately, the graphite anode systems widely deployed today present significant safety concerns, particularly for shipboard applications.

Li-ion batteries using LTO anodes could prove to be an ideal solution for many of these applications if the high-temperature performance limitations of LTO can be overcome. LTO performance degrades rapidly above 45°C, largely because of gas generation that results in poor cycle life and energy retention.

Silatronix will work to solve this problem by applying Organosilicon electrolytes to stabilize the LTO system for high temperature operation. This would allow the Navy to fully leverage the benefits of LTO anodes, such as excellent cycling life (15-25k cycles), significantly improved safety profile, and faster charge time (when compared with traditional Li-ion graphite anode systems).

There is potential to improve the commercial viability of LTO by improving performance. By leveraging OS electrolytes we expect to see improvements in both high and low temperature performance, rate capability, and ultimately cycle life. We are optimistic on achieving a positive result as preliminary testing of our OS3 material at 55°C resulted in no gas generation. These improvements should make LTO much more appealing for a wider range of applications both within the Navy and more broadly in the commercial sector.

—Dr. Deborah Gilbert of Silatronix

OS3 is Silatronix’ latest generation organosilicon electrolyte material. OS3 enables extreme performance of Li-ion batteries when added to LiPF6 based battery cells in concentrations of just 2-5%. OS3 provides performance enhancements while also delivering substantial safety and stability improvements. Silatronix is currently delivering production volumes of OS3.

OS3 is a solvent, not a traditional additive. This is an important distinction to make given that OS3 is applied in “additive-like” quantities. The difference is that OS3 is a complementary part of the Li-ion electrolyte and additive system. While additives are typically consumed during the first few cycles of a battery, Silatronix OS3 works as a component of the system. The material stays as part of the electrolyte formulation throughout the life of the battery.



Carbonates are used as the solvent, it sounds like this helps.

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