US startup Silatronix has been awarded a $10.1 million contract from the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR) for the next generation of lithium ion NMC batteries.
The research will focus on the use of organosilicon (OS) electrolytes to improve the cycling stability of Li-ion cells using NMC622 and NMC811 cathode materials in combination with various state-of-the-art anode materials. It will also test various silicon-graphite composite (Si-C) anode materials with the OS technology.
Wisconsin-based Silatronix has substantial expertise in the development of new OS based solvents for Li-ion battery applications along with a Li-ion battery materials evaluation laboratory and analysis capability. “We are helping to make high performance, low cost Li-ion a reality” said Mark Zager, CEO of Silatronix. “Our early OS3 customers are reducing $/kWh costs by using lower cost cathode materials that substitute higher amounts of nickel in place of higher cost cobalt. OS3 fits neatly into this equation by delivering the high level of electrolyte stability needed to take full advantage of these new cathode materials. As a bonus, we are also seeing tremendous benefit in fast charge cycling protocols.”
The combination of OS electrolytes and high-nickel NMC cathode materials have been used in early demonstrations to enable high performance Li-ion battery cells with lower costs, longer lifetimes, and fast charge capability. Specifically, electrolytes with Silatronix OS3 material have enabled the use of silicon anodes in NMC batteries with energy densities in excess of 400 Wh/kg compared to 200Wh/kg today.
High-nickel Li-ion NMC batteries provide an excellent balance of power capability and energy density. This makes them suitable for a wide range of applications including mobile communications, uninterruptible power supplies, and even electric mobility and electric vehicles. NMC batteries also have the largest installed production capacity base around the world, so adding the OS electrolyte technology makes them more suitable for the extreme safety and reliability requirements of naval and military applications without increasing costs.