January 9, 2020: Japanese global electronics and ceramics giant Kyocera on January 6 launched an energy storage system that it claims is the first to use a semi-solid lithium battery technology by US firm 24M.
Having begun pilot production of the SemiSolid batteries based on 24M’s design in June, a full residential energy storage system called Enerezza has now been built by the Japanese firm.
It says its customers will benefit from the system’s long battery life and ‘unparalleled safety’, and that 24M’s SemiSolid technology ‘is the emerging standard for lithium-ion battery manufacturing’.
The battery technology is so-called because its electrodes are semi solid, need no binder nor solvent and mix electrolyte with active materials to form a clay-like slurry, which can be thickly applied to the metal foil used in the electrode and can be easily separated at end-of-life for recycling.
The increased thickness of the slurry — about five times that of existing batteries — in turn increases the energy density of the battery and reduces the amount of foil required, thus the material cost.
The technology is also safer and more reliable than existing lithium batteries, the firms say. With existing batteries, the electrolyte and a separator are sandwiched between the electrodes in the battery cell. If metal powder enters the cell or there is a short circuit between electrodes, fire can result.
Because the new battery uses foil and does not require any metal cutting, and the cell’s external terminal is welded after each being sealed, no metal can enter the cell and risk of fire does not arise.
In December 2018, 24M announced that Kyocera and other investors had handed it $22 million in series ‘D’ funding to accelerate the deployment of its manufacturing process and to develop high-energy density lithium cells for the EV market.
With the launch of Enerezza the firms’ plan to start full-scale mass production this autumn.