Nano sponge silicon gives lithium ion batteries 50% extra capacity

November 07, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Nano sponge silicon gives lithium ion batteries 50% extra capacity
Dutch tech-company RGS has launched its E-magy nano-porous silicon, a material claimed to significantly improve the uptake of lithium ions and accommodate swelling during charging cycles.

This special silicon can be used in the anode of Li-ion batteries to enhance their capacity. According to the company, E-magy can increase the capacity of Li-ion battery anodes to meet industry targets by up to fifty percent (50%) additional capacity. This translates into electric vehicle ranges of well above 500 km without adding more batteries.

Replacing today’s carbon material by silicon in Li-ion batteries is widely seen as the solution of choice to achieve larger battery capacities. In theory the use of Silicon can increase battery anode capacity by a factor of 10. In practice the use of silicon is significantly limited due to detrimental swelling effects during charging the battery, limiting lifetime.

The E-magy nano-porous silicon material was designed to absorb the lithium-ions during battery cycling thanks to its inner porosity, similar to a sponge absorbing water. This prevents outside swelling of the battery anode, while the capacity increases by a factor of three or more.

E-magy will be supplied as a powder, and can be used in existing supply chains and battery factory production processes to gradually enhance the capacity of Li-ion batteries.

“RGS has achieved an excellent process for scaling up micro sized silicon particles with a nano structured morphology, suitable for the next generations of Li-ion batteries” explains Dr. Erik Kelder, Associate Professor Applied physics at Delft University. “This combination of structures prevents many obstacles and safety issues encountered with micron or nano sized silicon alone, and will maintain its quality during charging and discharging.”

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