E-magy looking to scale nano-porous silicon production for next-generation Li-ion batteries
03 December 2020
E-magy, a Dutch cleantech scale-up, has developed a technology platform for nanoporous silicon that can significantly boost the performance of next-generation lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).
E-magy’s low-cost process manufactures structured silicon particles with nano-scale pores that do not swell and break. As a result, batteries enjoy 40% higher energy density (in Wh/kg) and up to 5x faster charging without impact on battery lifetime.
E-magy nano sponge structure
E-magy is one of the first movers in this space and says that it is one of the few players with a fully operational pilot line in place. From here, the next step is to ramp up production to industrial scale in order to meet anticipated demand of EV battery producers and car manufacturers.
Silicon has various unique features which are all superior to graphite which is the current standard for EV batteries. That is about to change. Over the past 8 years we have worked on a unique silicon based nanostructure. With our partners TU Delft and Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung we have extensively tested our solution against the highest automotive standards with regards to performance, stability and safety—among others.
We have demonstrated that batteries with our nano-porous silicon work and that the energy density is much higher than possible with graphite. Following these successful tests, we have produced several batches of the material for the largest EV manufacturers in the world, allowing them to validate our technology for their specific battery and vehicle applications. As these customers confirm the good results we see in our own lab, now is the time to start ramping up our production to an industrial scale.
In line with the European Green Deal strategy, there is strong interest from industry and policy makers to push the European battery industry forward. We are excited to play a role in making EVs more accessible to many more people through our low-cost nano-structured silicon while at the same time pushing EV battery performance to the next level.—Casper Peeters, co-founder and CEO
The core of the patented technology platform is a high throughput silicon alloy casting machine. The current production site can produce up to 25 tons of nanoporous silicon per year.
E-magy is now preparing the launch of an additional funding round for the construction of a new production facility in the Netherlands with a capacity of up to 3,000 tons which could serve the manufacturing of approximately 500,000 new electric vehicles annually.
Looks good - I wonder how long it will take to get into cars we can buy...
Also, this is for the Anode - do we also need to upgrade the cathode to get the benefits?
Posted by: mahonj | 03 December 2020 at 04:49 AM
Silicon specific capacity is 10x more than graphite. You roughly need 30,000 t of graphite anode for 30 Gwh, but you only need 3,000 t of silicon anode for the same capacity.
If this is 40% or not is probably dependant on the cathode, a higher energy density cathode would see a boost of 40%, but something like LFP would benefit less, but still probably around 20%.
As far as I understand the problem with anode material is that there is a long evaluation process, so this may take a while until it's used in EVs.
Posted by: GasperG | 03 December 2020 at 09:43 AM
The increased energy density would be great but the faster charging might be even more important.
Posted by: William Stockwell | 03 December 2020 at 01:20 PM
There is a lot of battery research ongoing, i.e., Mg and Al in place of Li, solid state electrolytes, Si anodes, graphene anodes, etc.
This battery development will lead us to some amazing storage devices; some say future batteries will be fire safe and 3-5x the best battery density of today. that's about 750-1250 Wh/Kg...truly amazing!
Posted by: Lad | 03 December 2020 at 07:07 PM
You can't do one without the other!
Posted by: yoatmon | 04 December 2020 at 04:22 AM
Sure you can,
if you have cathode capacity which is restricted by the anode.
Posted by: SJC_1 | 05 December 2020 at 07:26 AM
There are many companies trying to develop Silicon Anodes. E-Magy is supplying a low cost nano porous silicon for the anode. It may be part of the answer.
If you read US Patent US2019/0267617A, there is a good explanation of what is needed for Silicon Anodes. The "Applicant" is SilLion which was acquired by Tesla, Elon Musk described it a on Battery Day.
From the patent:
"Preliminary work performed by Applicants demonstrated the impressive long-term cycling stability system of a nano-Si electrode/room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL) system and its combination with the commercially available “L333” cathode for a Li-ion cell capable of delivering 1.35x the specific energy of today's state-of-the-art technology, normalized to electroactive material mass. The nano silicon-cyclized polyacrylonitrile (nSi-cPAN) electrode, when combined with an imide-based RTIL electrolyte, maintains anaverage half-cell coulombic eficiency of greater than 99.97% due to the cooperative efects of a robust electrode architecture and the formation of a stable solid-electrolyte interphase(SEI) layer."
They go on to say that "the anodes used to demonstrate these inventions, while containing greater than 70% silicon relative to total anode mass, were thin and not suitable for commercial application". So there is still some work before this is used in a production battery.
Maybe five years before you see this in an EV.
Posted by: Account Deleted | 05 December 2020 at 11:33 AM
What you are proposing is an exception to the rule; it's advisable to stick to the rule.
Posted by: yoatmon | 07 December 2020 at 08:50 AM