A company named 24M announced that it has developed a semisolid lithium-ion battery that significantly reduces manufacturing time and expense without sacrificing performance.
It has been quietly working on developing the technology for the past five years, and said that applications include both electrified vehicles and home power storage, similar to other lithium-ion chemistries.
According to 24M, its new semisolid battery is based on already proven lithium-ion (li-ion) chemistry, solving some of the associated problems.
“The lithium-ion battery is a brilliant, enabling technology, but its economics are flawed. It’s prohibitively expensive; it’s cumbersome and inefficient to make; and today’s version is approaching the limits of its cost reductions,” said Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, 24M’s chief scientist.
“24M has fixed the flaws. We’ve made the world’s favorite battery better, fundamentally changing its cost curve by designing a more elegant and simpler cell and then making the batteries the right way –the way they should have been made from day one.”
The key difference between this battery and other li-ion batteries is the electrode, explained 24M.
“Conventional lithium-ion battery cells have a large fraction of inactive, non-charge carrying materials –supporting metals and plastics – that are layered, one-on-top of the other, within a cell’s casing. Those inactive materials are expensive and wasteful,” the company said.
Dr. Chiang used his lab at MIT to solve this problem by creating a semisolid thick electrode.
“With the invention of the semisolid thick electrode, 24M eliminates more than 80 percent of these inactive materials and increases the active layer thickness over traditional li-ion by up to five times,” said 24M. “Using thick electrodes, the cell also stores more energy, bettering the performance of the battery as well as its cost.”
The manufacturing process is also improved, said the company, which quoted faster production times and less expensive facility costs among the benefits of the semisolid li-ion battery.
Dr. Chiang is a well known scientist in the field of rechargeable batteries. In 2001, he was one of the creators of A123 Systems, before co-founding 24M in 2010. He now leads a team of more than 50 employees at 24M’s 32,000 square foot factory in Cambridge, Mass.
He’ll have the chance to prove the effectiveness of his battery during its real-world testing phase. The product isn’t quite ready for electric vehicles, but will be used initially in stationary power storage systems. Within the next five years, CEO Throop Wilder said the company plans to build batteries for both grid storage and electrified vehicles.
“Together, our inventions achieve what lithium-ion has yet to do – meet the ultra-low cost targets of the grid and transportation industries,” Wilder said. “By 2020 our battery costs will be less than $100 a kilowatt-hour. We’re emerging at the right time with the right technology.”