FAQ Use Cases Blog About Us Register Log In


  • Recap - TechBlick Virtual Event – Solid-State Batteries: Innovations, Promising Start-Ups, & Future Roadmap
    Posted on 2024-02-20

  • Many thanks to TechBlick for a having put together a great virtual conference last week on next-generation battery product development efforts & market needs! Thanks for the opportunity to talk about solid electrolyte film formation processes.
  • To achieve successful upscaling of semi-solid and all-solid-state Li-ion batteries, a careful balance has to be achieved between process innovation and risk, in addition to selecting the right active and electrolyte materials.
  • Points to be considered:

    • Process is already used to produce commercial batteries? Frontrunners: blade / slot-die coating, extrusion, vacuum deposition (microscale cells), electrophoresis (microscale cells).
    • Can all kinds of materials be mixed and matched without substantial process refactoring, including to form bi-layer electrolyte structures? Frontrunners: blade / slot-die and similar coating processes, electrophotographic printing.
    • Avoidance of solvents? Frontrunners: extrusion, molding, dry fibrillization, electrophotographic printing, 'pulling' of glass sheets, plasma spraying, vacuum deposition (microscale cells).
    • Very tight control of nano-architecture at <10 μm film thickness? Frontrunners: electro-spinning / electro-spraying, vacuum deposition (microscale cells).

    Solid electrolyte deposition processes
  • Preview of our 'Solid-state / Semi-solid Li-ion Battery Innovation & Patent Review'.
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Recap - Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) – San Diego (USA)
    Posted on 2023-12-19

  • At the recent AABC in San Diego, Sila Nanotechnologies announced the conclusion of a supply agreement for its silicon-based anode active material with Panasonic for future high-energy EV battery cells. Recently, Panasonic signed a similar deal with Nexeon. Both active materials will be supplied from US manufacturing plants.
  • This development confirms that a pathway to liquid carbonate-containing Li-ion battery EV cells with 1,000 Wh/L (probably around 360 kWh/kg) has been validated, approximately on par with Prologium's semi-solid / Si-based anode Li-ion battery cell roadmap.
  • There is a difference regarding Si-based material cost projections between Sila Nanotechnologies ('competitive with graphite on a pack $/kWh-basis by 2029', which probably converts to about 6 $/kWh), while ProLogium claimed in its talk that it will use an Si-based active material that costs 2 $/kWh ($20/kg material cost). In 2021, OneD Battery Sciences projected 1.7 $/kWh for its Si-based active material upon up-scaling.
  • The talk and IP portfolio by E-magy suggest that they should be able to go below cost levels mentioned above for their Si-based active materials (performance in EV cells to be validated), while Tesla stated back in 2020 a 1.2 $/kWh target for its internal Si active material development.
  • To de-risk their CAPEX investments, Si-based anode material producers should develop at least two grades with significantly different BET specific surface area, at significantly different price points, suitable for interfacing with at least two different classes of Li-ion battery electrolytes (such as liquid carbonate & semi-solid electrolytes, or semi-solid and all-solid-state electrolytes).
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Following up on yesterday's post, ADVANO, ALKEGEN, Ionic Mineral Technologies, NanoGraf Corporation and Paraclete Energy each are pursuing next generation Si-based anode materials that should allow for further reduced costs (<2 $/kWh).
  • As energy density grows and costs drop, the importance of collaborations between active material and electrolyte / cell makers will grow, because the achievement of sufficient performance may depend on relatively minor electrolyte variations, such as the particle size distribution of solid electrolyte components (e.g. oxides) or electrolyte polymer molecular weight in conjunction with Si morphology, surface characteristics, etc.
  • While all-solid-state and liquid carbonate electrolyte cell developers are quite well known, our IP analysis reveals how a whole range of commercially relevant players made semi-solid electrolyte-related patent filings alongside Prologium: Blue Solutions, Factorial Energy, Foxconn / SolidEdge Solution, General Motors, Hydro Québec, LG Chem, QuantumScape, SES AI, TeraWatt Technology, Toshiba, WeLion (in combination with Li metal, Si-based, graphite or LTO negative electrodes).
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Joint Webinar with Enabled Future - Maximizing the chance of successful PEMFC product launches - September 19, 2023
    Posted on 2023-09-20

  • An excerpt of the webinar can be watched below.
  • Please sign up here for free if you wish to watch the full video and receive triweekly patent updates.
  • Recap - Battery Show Europe 2023 - Stuttgart (Germany)
    Posted on 2023-05-30

  • At the The Battery Show Europe conference, a key topic was how new battery materials that lower costs and allow for improved energy density / fast charging can be introduced in the context of huge EV battery production volumes.
  • The commitment by EV makers to deploy semi-solid and solid-state battery EVs (free of liquid carbonate electrolytes) based on redefined supply chains is close to unanimous.
  • The success of each of these collaborative upscaling efforts depends substantially on whether the right material suppliers & cell makers find each other (switching costs are not as dominant as in the existing supply chain).
  • Material suppliers should work with enough partners to diversify market launch risk, without losing the ability to adjust their materials to the specific needs of each partner.
  • Our 2023 review edition contains 43 company chapters, with visualizations of divergent technology decisions as reflected in the patent literature.

    Image Li-ion Batteries with Novel Electrolytes - (Prospective) Launch in EV / Aerospace Market
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Recap - TechBlick Virtual Event - Battery Materials: Next-generation & Beyond Lithium-ion
    Posted on 2023-02-22

  • Many thanks, Dr. Khasha Ghaffarzadeh and colleagues from TechBlick for putting groundbreaking battery technology on stage last week!
  • The driving force that enables the introduction of new technology approaches depends on each application's current dominant pain point, for example:

    • IoT - longevity, form factor
    • wearables - energy density
    • aerospace - energy & power density
    • high-end EVs - energy density & fast charge
    • mass market EVs - costs
    • mass market stationary applications - costs
  • Because SEI formation and lithium dendrite formation can be better suppressed with solid electrolytes as compared to liquid electrolytes, there is a favorable prospect of achieving substantial energy density and cost improvements with negative electrode active materials that were not much used commercially up to now.
  • Mass market EV cell makers Tesla, Panasonic / Toyota, LG Energy Solution will benchmark external efforts against their own efforts, which according to patent filings might include deploying micro-scale Si (<5 $/kg).

    Possible Permutations Between Various Types of Solid Electrolytes and Negative Electrode Active Materials in Li-ion Batteries
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Prospective Evolution of Li-ion Battery Cathodes
    Posted on 2023-01-23

  • Ni / Mn-containing cathode active materials (such as NMC, NMCA, Co-free NMx) typically account for >50% of overall Li-ion battery cell materials costs.
  • For this reason, Li-ion battery cell manufacturers are continuously evaluating if a replacement with lower cost cathode materials is feasible:
    • by relying on lower-cost raw materials, such as Fe & Mn,
    • or through reduced manufacturing process costs (such as metal-to-cathode).
  • Recent developments (within the frame of liquid electrolyte Li-ion battery cells) suggest that two positive electrode material technology tracks will split up most electrified transport applications between them:
    • cells with Ni-dominant positive electrode active materials, 90 to >99 mass% Ni (in relation to the total transition metal content), theoretical limit for LNO (LiNiO2): 275 mAh/g reversible capacity, 3.8 V vs. Li+/Li average potential.
    • cells with iron-based LFP (LiFePO4) positive electrode active materials, theoretical limit: 170 mAh/g, 3.43 V vs. Li+/Li average potential. These materials will evolve towards iron / manganese-based LMFP with increasing Mn content, theoretical limit for LMP (LiMnPO4 170 mAh/g, 4.1 V vs. Li+/Li.

    Decision Tree – Positive Electrode Materials for Li-ion Batteries – Bulk Chemical Composition / Structural Class
  • Sign up for free on b-science.net or request a quote for a premium subscription.
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Recap - Battery Brunch Virtual - November 15, 2022
    Posted on 2023-01-12

  • Many thanks to the Volta Foundation for the chance to hold a session on 'Commercially Viable Pathways for Solid & Semi-solid Batteries'.
  • Thanks to an interactive audience, it was very interesting to elucidate how solid-state batteries actually have a substantial commercial history already in business critical, but rather concealed niches, like for the avoidance of power interruptions on printed circuit boards (PCB).
  • The barriers that tend to block direct up-scaling of existing thin-film solid-state battery technology were discussed, and how alternative approaches have already resulted in market launches of solid-state or semi-solid Li-ion batteries in portable electronics and EVs.
  • The discussion evolved towards the latest polymers that are being investigated and patented, which hopefully will constitute a breakthrough towards increased Li-ion conductivity at room temperature in combination with well-rounded mechanical, longevity, cost and safety characteristics.
  • Recap - The Battery Show North America - Novi, MI (USA) - September 13-15, 2022
    Posted on 2022-09-19

  • Many thanks to Adrian Tylim from Blue Solutions for the informative joint session at the The Battery Show North America on 'Divergent Approaches to Solid & Semi-solid Batteries for EVs'.
  • They have deployed solid-state batteries in e-buses together with Mercedes-Benz AG based on lithium metal electrodes that might soon become thinner & cheaper (collaboration with Li-Metal).
  • E-magy and Ionic Mineral Technologies presented novel Si active material architectures while Prologium Technology explained that progress has been achieved towards increasing the Si content in its negative electrodes towards 50-100% in combination with its hybrid electrolyte (presumably based on oxide or phosphate and polymers).
  • The novel stacked high energy (liquid electrolyte) cell architecture by ENOVIX is manufactured based on their micro-scale electrode positioning capability (with the help of Laser-patterned positioning pins). Such high yield manufacturing capabilities might eventually enable manufacturing of bipolar solid-state Li-ion battery cells.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Solid & Semi-solid Electrolytes: 1) Sulfides; 2) Polymers; 3) Mixtures Between Ion-conducting Salts / Organic Molecules / Inert Inorganic Support Materials; 4) Oxides / Phosphates; 5) Halides; 6) Thin-film (Vacuum Deposition, e.g. of LiPON); 7) Eutectic Salts
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Recap - Solid-state Battery Summit - Chicago, IL (USA) - August 2-3, 2022
    Posted on 2022-08-09

  • Swappable Solid-liquid EV Batteries
  • At the recent Solid-state Battery Summit in Chicago organized by Cambridge EnerTech, the merits of combining a minor amount of liquid / ionic liquid / low-melting salt (e.g. Li0.8Cs0.2FTFSI with melting point of 40 °C, patent filing by CATL) with solid electrolytes were controversially debated. Such solid-liquid electrolyte approaches make hypothesis-driven research and assessing product development results challenging.
    FTFSI: fluorosulfonyl-(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide
  • However, let's look at NIO's efforts of enabling about 600 miles / 1,000 km range in Q4/2022 in its existing EV models based on a novel swappable 150 kWh / 360 Wh/kg hybrid solid-liquid battery (presumably provided by WeLion).
  • This agile, data-driven approach should allow for optimizing product-market fit by tuning components through large amounts of real-world application data (incl. A/B tests). Premature pack degradation or potential safety issues can potentially be dealt with in a pro-active manner, by swapping such packs out before problems multiply.
  • While swappable battery EVs might be viable only in markets with high population density, the resulting optimized battery cell configurations can be incorporated also into non-swappable battery EVs.
  • https://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Recap - Battery Experts Forum - Frankfurt am Main (Germany) - July 12-14, 2022
    Posted on 2022-07-15

  • At the recent Battery Experts Forums, the implications of higher lithium salt prices on battery cell costs and how it usually takes several years to bring new lithium salt mining capacity online were much-discussed topics. This means that product development investments to reduce the amount of lithium per unit of energy density (in Wh/kg) as quickly as possible will be even more valuable than before.
  • Key approaches:
    • increase voltage (higher energy storage per cycled Li)
    • decrease separator/electrolyte layer thickness (less Li needed to provide for ion conductivity between electrodes, make sure safety does not suffer)
    • decrease separator porosity (less Li needed to provide for ion conductivity between electrodes)
    • decrease electrode porosity (less Li needed to provide for ion conductivity in pores, carefully tune pore size distribution)
    • increase electrode thickness/loading on current collector (converts into reduced mass ratio of separator/electrolyte layer vs. electrodes and therefore more effective use of Li for cycling)
  • The last 3 approaches can result in reduced power performance, and are therefore viable only to a limited extent if high power is targeted.
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Recap - Battery Cells & Systems Expo - Birmingham (United Kingdom) - June 29-30, 2022
    Posted on 2022-07-03

  • My take-away from the panel discussion on 'Solid State Powered Cars in 2024? When and How the Remaining Barriers to Commercial Production Could be Overcome' with Richard Clark from Morgan Advanced Materials with Dr. Juyeon Park from the National Physical Laboratory UK is that the likelihood that NIO will proceed with launching a high-range (about 600 miles / 1,000 km) semi-solid battery EV around Q4 / 2022 appears fairly high now. With only a few months remaining, most of the preparation steps must have been completed already.
  • Even if these semi-solid batteries still contain a bit of liquid (presumably 10-20 mass% in relation to solid electrolytes), this would be a big step towards validating Li-ion conducting solids as key electrolyte components in EV batteries (presumably coated oxide particles combined with polymers and salts, operated at room temperature).
  • Uncertainties related to planned solid-state battery EV market launches for 2024 and later (many of them based on deploying sulfide electrolytes for the first time) remain substantial as these timeframes implicate that multiple sequential steps have to be completed as planned prior to launch.
  • This post was also published on LinkedIn.
  • Recap - Battery Show Europe 2021 - Stuttgart (Germany)
    Posted on 2021-12-03

  • Technical discussions and presentations in Stuttgart provided important insights how positive / negative electrodes and electrolytes emerge and converge towards solid-state and semi-solid Li-ion batteries.
  • Amprius impressively illustrated their capability to produce 100% Si negative electrodes that permit for energy densities in liquid electrolyte cells of up to 450 Wh/kg / 1,300 Wh/L, albeit still for niche applications at this stage. A key point that still has to be addressed for EV applications is calendaric longevity (target: >10 years). These results can be seen as a harbinger for gradually increased Si-content also in large scale applications like EVs.
  • E-magy presented a novel and potentially low cost Si melting approach for the formation of porous Si. While for liquid electrolytes, the question could be raised if such a material has to be encapsulated inside a (costly) shell, this might not be necessary in combination with solid electrolytes. With solid electrolytes, excessive SEI formation can more easily be avoided even in case of a comparably high negative electrode / electrolyte interface area.
  • SVOLT presented its single crystalline, Co-free, doped NMX material, which contains more than 70% Ni and less than 30% Mn. Outperformance with respect to NMC811 was claimed with respect to all performance aspects aside from a slightly lower energy density (ca. 6%).
  • Factorial Energy made a business-oriented presentation that highlighted the massive interest by EV makers (including their partners Daimler, Hyundai / Kia, Stellantis) in solid-state or semi-solid batteries. As Blue Solutions and Daimler have put EVs and E-buses with lithium metal solid-state cells on the road (cell operation at ca. 80 °C), lithium metal negative electrodes that can be operated at room temperature are being fervently pursued.
  • The b-science.net presentation focused on combinations of different solid electrolyte material classes in cells, which can lead to performance and cost benefits (see image). Such electrolyte combinations could allow for bipolar cells, improved inherent safety and increased upper operating temperature limits (potentially 120-140 °C), resulting in further prospective energy density benefits at the pack level.

    Potential Synergies Between Solid Electrolyte Types: 1) Oxides or Phosphates and 2) Polymers
  • Reactions to this recap can be found on LinkedIn.
  • A LinkedIn post on the b-science.net presentation by E-Magy can be found here.
  • Recap - Battery Technology Show 2021 - Coventry (United Kingdom)
    Posted on 2021-11-04

  • Although the pandemic has not yet passed, it was nice to meet up with new and existing contacts in Coventry.
  • Solid-state Li-ion batteries and the many materials options that are under consideration in particular for EV applications keep attracting a lot of attention.
  • Meanwhile, supply chains for the existing liquid electrolyte Li-ion battery technology are being reconfigured towards increased localization.
  • In our presentation, we tried to illustrate how not only the choice of the solid or semi-solid electrolyte for prospective future high energy Li-ion batteries is a key decision, but also the selection of lithium metal vs. silicon-based negative electrodes. For the positive electrode, commercially available NMC / NMCA / NCA (or LFP) are pursued as comparably low-risk options, while Mn-rich spinels or Li-rich layered oxides potentially offer substantial cost and energy density advantages, respectively in connection with the risk of yet to be scaled cathode material manufacturing processes.
  • At the cell architecture level, bipolar designs start to attract increasing attention as another lever to increase energy and power density at the pack level.
  • Recap - The Battery Show & EV Tech Europe Digital Days
    Posted on 2021-05-26

  • Together with Xiaoxi He from IDTechEx (UK), Holger Althues from Fraunhofer IWS (Germany) & Marc Copley from Warwick University (UK), Pirmin Ulmann from b-science.net joined the panel discussion on 'Solid-state battery feasibility: when & how will we get there?' with 273 attendees.
  • Over the last few months, a close to unanimous industry consensus has formed that solid-state batteries will be adopted in EVs, albeit initially based predominantly on solid electrolyte layers that might still contain some liquid electrolyte, along with Si-carbon negative electrodes.
  • Presumably, solid-state battery EVs will start capturing market share at the high end in 2022 (NIO: 150 kWh battery, 10% or more liquid electrolyte, 90% or less solid electrolyte), followed by gradual market share expansion over many years, driven by continuous cost reductions and further energy density improvements.
  • Many questions came from the audience as to how these new battery chemistries will affect pack design. These projections can be made:
    • Solid-state EV batteries will almost exclusively be built with pouch or prismatic cell form factors in which electrode / electrolyte layers are arranged in a stacked, not wound manner.
    • Operating temperatures for future solid-state battery chemistries will allow for an increased maximal operating temperature of 80-140 °C in EVs (currently with liquid electrolytes: 50-60 °C).
  • The feasibility of building bipolar cells at large scale is a major potential advantage of solid-state batteries, which is expected to reduce inactive parts in EV packs from ca. 30% to 12% (ProLogium). Toyota is also pursuing bipolar cells, along with others. Both ProLogium and Toyota appear to pursue Si-containing negative electrodes for now, which raises the question as to whether bipolar cells can be implemented with Li metal negative electrodes - and if not yet - whether Li metal negative electrodes will deliver sufficient energy density improvements at pack level to compete with bipolar cells with Si-carbon negative electrodes.
  • The debate as to whether oxides, sulfides and/or polymers will be used is still very much open considering that substantial breakthroughs have recently been made at the materials level, while challenges remain:
    • Oxides: suppression of lithium dendrite formation at high currents has been achieved (QuantumScape), but successful commercialization depends on an ambitious upscaling effort that is still to be accomplished.
    • Sulfides: suppression of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas emissions in ambient air has been achieved (BASF together with Waterloo University, Prof. Linda Nazar and coworkers), but the extent of hydrogen sulfide emissions upon contact with water is not clear (important in case of an accident and during recycling). This makes projections on the necessary safety features at pack level difficult.
    • Polymers: it is not yet clear if it will be possible to avoid liquid electrolytes if a polymer battery is to be operated at room temperature.
  • Recap - International Battery Seminar & Exhibit VIRTUAL
    Posted on 2020-08-04

  • Our key takeaway from this great event is that the secular growth of the battery industry continues. The crisis due to COVID-19 is expected to cause only a temporary slowdown during 2020 (for example presentation by Avicenne Energy).
  • Diverging opinions exist regarding solid-state batteries. Speakers from large current Li-ion battery suppliers (such as Bob Gaylen, recently retired from CATL and Celina Mikolajczak, Panasonic) pointed out the high costs and significant time necessary to scale up production for a new technology to the scale of liquid electrolyte Li-ion batteries.
  • At the same time, many established automotive players (such as Toyota, VW, Hyundai/Kia, Ford, Daimler, BMW) see a chance in establishing increased vertical integration by bringing a solid-state battery technology to market, frequently in collaboration with startups.
  • b-science.net hosted the virtual breakout discussion on 'solid-state batteries - key technology approaches & time-to-market', in which insightful discussions took place between attendees from big corporations, startups and academia.
  • In parallel, improvements are being made regarding the incorporation of silicon-containing composite material anodes into existing liquid electrolyte Li-ion battery manufacturing processes (e.g. by Sila Nanotechnologies).
  • Prof. Whittingham (Nobel laureate in chemistry 2019) and Prof. Dahn pointed out opportunities and challenges with regards to high energy cathode materials, while Andrew Miller from Benchmark Minerals pointed out how resource bottlenecks could occur by 2026 regarding lithium, cobalt and potentially also nickel.
  • Further efforts towards increased energy density, reduced cobalt content in cathode materials and recycling are therefore crucial.
  • Recap - Battery Japan in Tokyo
    Posted on 2019-03-07

  • The conference adjacent to Battery Japan in Tokyo once again provided excellent insights into ongoing R&D activities and market developments, thanks to simultaneous translations from Japanese to English.
  • Mr. Hideo Takeshita from B3 Corp. explained how market growth for Li-ion batteries continues in mobile/IT and xEV applications, while the ESS (stationary energy storage systems) market is growing as well, albeit from a smaller base. Li-ion batteries are starting to encroach on lead-acid batteries in automotive SLI (starting, lighting, ignition) and UPS (uninterruptible power supply) battery applications.
  • Both Mr. Takeshita and Mr. Yosikazu Watanabe from Tukushi Shigen Consul (TSC) do not believe lithium & cobalt supply will pose an insurmountable supply risk as the Li-ion battery industry grows further, because there are many new mining projects that will lead to increased lithium supply, and because cobalt content in cathode materials has already dropped to 5% for NCA (nickel-cobalt-aluminum) and to 15% for NCM (nickel-cobalt-manganese) materials.
  • A further highlight was the presentation by Dr. Shinji Nakanishi from the Advanced Material Engineering Division of Toyota, who illustrated how they modify interfaces in solid-state batteries with the help of advanced surface treatment processes. These processes can be applied to materials in bulk powder form rather than at device level. This leads to high process throughput at large scale and manageable costs. Solid electrolyte particles are deposited using a liquid coating process in the presence of a binder, which again, as a rule is more efficient and robust than powder compression & sintering in devices.
  • Toyota expects a higher energy density for solid-state batteries, but a low power density as compared to Li-ion batteries based on liquid electrolytes. Although high power densities are achievable with solid-state batteries, there are likely negative effects on longevity upon applying high currents (crack formation). The presentation by Toyota together with the targeted acquisition of Maxwell Technologies by Tesla supports our prediction from 2018 that supercapacitors will be combined with solid-state batteries in automotive and ESS systems.
  • Recap - China International Battery Fair (CIBF) in Shenzhen
    Posted on 2018-05-26

  • With 1,250 exhibitors and ca. 40,000 visitors, the CIBF has been a tremendous opportunity to learn and engage with new and existing contacts. We thank the organizers for providing us with a favorable exhibition space in Hall 1.
  • On the streets of Shenzhen, it was apparent how electric vehicles have become increasingly abundant as compared to prior visits. This subjective impression is consistent with the fact that Shenzhen is the first city in the world that replaced its whole diesel bus fleet with electric buses.
  • After demonstrating a summary of our energy storage innovation & patent review to a three figure number of visitors at CIBF and The Battery Show Europe, we can state that individual visitors from large and small industry players confirmed our findings are of high interest and granularity. Nobody contested our observations, which we think further supports the validity of our machine learning based approach towards the global energy storage patent literature.
  • seif Impact Academy
    Posted on 2018-03-23

  • During the next five months, we will participate in the Zurich-based seif Impact Academy, which supports impact enterprises during the growth phase. Our coach is an IT security executive from the Swiss financial services industry.
  • Making Technology Less Manipulative
    Posted on 2018-03-09

  • In this thought-provoking Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders presentation, Tristan Harris (Time Well Spent) explains how Internet businesses that finance themselves through advertising employ machine learning techniques to attract users to spend as much time as possible on their site.
  • According to Tristan, if a user pays for a service on the Internet, the interests between the user and the service provider are better aligned towards solving a problem within the shortest time possible.
  • As it is our purpose to facilitate energy storage research, our target is that users spend as little time as necessary on our site to increase innovation productivity. Consequently, it is our intention to finance ourselves through user contributions rather than through advertising.