Boosting lithium-ion batteries with silicon
The Global Challenge
The next generation of high-performance Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) will include Silicon-based anodes. Silicon has ten times higher storage capacity than graphite, the current anode choice. But the direct substitution of graphite with Si has proven challenging due to the effects of large volumetric expansion of Si during charge/discharge cycles. To preserve this high capacity, Si must be nanosized (< 200 nm) in order to prevent pulverisation after the electrochemical conversion reactions undergone during Li storage/release. The challenge is in producing nanostructured Si electrodes using simple and sustainable processes leading to thick electrodes that are ultimately economically feasible. And critically, Si anode manufacturing methods must be scalable, demonstrating production capacity on the scale 100s ton/year and full industrialisation for market deployment.
Floatech, S.L., a spin-off of the IMDEA Materials Institute, has developed a commercial competitive process for the fabrication of >75% nanostructured Si anodes. It eliminates solvents and polymers during processing, hence reducing costs and emissions. The method combines manufacturing scalability, sustainability and, most importantly, leads to high-performance properties in LIBs.