The 18650-format cylindrical lithium-ion cell with a silicon anode developed by Nanograf provides 3.8Ah, 28 percent more power that graphite-based anode technologies.
“This is a breakthrough for the battery industry,” said Dr. Kurt (Chip) Breitenkamp, president of Nanograf, which is a spinout of Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory. “Energy density has plateaued, only increasing eight percent or so over the last decade. We just achieved a 10 percent increase in a little under a year. This is over a decade’s worth of innovation in one technology.”
The 800Wh/l target has been a focus for electric vehicle makers to reduce “range anxiety”. Cars such as the Tesla Model S would last approximately 28 percent longer on a single charge, says the company. Tesla has also been exploring the use of silicon anodes for cyclindrical cells in a larger 4680 form factor to boost the range of its vehicles.
Other silicon anode battery developers are looking at using the high energy density technology for aircraft.
NanoGraf is also aiming the silicon battery to power military electronics and equipment, as the US Army helped fund the research with a $1.65m grant. US soldiers on patrol carry upwards of twenty pounds of lithium ion batteries, often the second heaviest category of equipment after body armour. NanoGraf’s batteries improve run time on U.S. soldiers’ equipment and can reduce their battery pack weights by over 15 percent.
NanoGraf says it works with more than 50 companies, including some of the world’s leading consumer electronics, household appliance, and power tool brands, and over 12 strategic partners in electric mobility from startups to large companies.