In an era highly dependent on mobile devices and solar energy, long-lasting battery life is vital.
Santa Clarita-based BioSolar Inc. understands the need for high-energy and high-power batteries, and the completion of its commercial-grade prototype lithium-ion batteries could meet the growing market demand.
The company, a developer of breakthrough energy storage technology and materials headquartered in Lost Canyon Road, announced in June it was building the first batch of the commercial-grade prototype in 21700 lithium-ion cylindrical cell format, a relatively new setup for battery cells more frequently used today in power tools and electric cars.
The focus of this prototype is to verify key performance metrics related to cell-energy capacity and capacity retention over a large number of cycles, according to a BioSolar news release.
“BioSolar is currently developing a technology to increase storage capacity, lower the cost and extend the life of next generation lithium-ion batteries,” said David Lee, CEO of BioSolar. “We believe this cell design can demonstrate commercial viability and achieve increased exposure to customers who may test and ultimately incorporate BioSolar’s additive technology.”
Completion of the prototype is a step forward for the company. Advancements in battery technology are expected to change gradually with higher capacity, which could mean a longer range for electric cars and higher power for faster charging and longer life for a decrease in the cost of owning electric cars, for example.
“At some point in the future, these incremental improvements will eventually enable broad commercialization of batteries in a wide range of applications,” said Lee. “BioSolar wants its technology to shorten the time it takes to get there.”
It’s all in the ‘Si’
Preparation of the 21700 cylindrical battery cells are with silicon anodes, something vital to highlight, said Lee.
A battery has two primary parts: an anode and a cathode. Currently, graphite is the most commonly used anode material, but silicon, or Si, has attracted “significant attention” for its natural abundance, non-toxicity and a theoretical capacity of more than 10 times that of graphite.
“Silicon (Si) is one of the most promising anode materials being considered for next-generation, high-energy and high-power lithium-ion batteries,” said Lee. “However, Si anodes are not without their drawbacks. They suffer from large capacity fading and tremendous volume changes during lithium-ion charge-discharge cycling.”
Simply put, silicon breaks down quickly and can affect battery performance and cycle life.
“These are the primary challenges to the commercial use of Si for battery anodes, which BioSolar intends to overcome,” Lee added.
To overcome the challenges that come with silicon, BioSolar’s additive technology is built to work with all types of silicon anodes including nanoparticles, porous structures and composites with carbon. Widening their technology helps the company’s Si anode material partner supply variety to a wider range of users, whereas most Si anode technologies are designed for specific electrode designs, Lee said.
BioSolar plans to commence the testing and analysis phase of the first batch of commercial-grade cells and follow with additional prototype batches to verify other key performance metrics.
“The eventual goal is to demonstrate commercial viability and achieve increased exposure to both end-user customers and battery manufacturers who are seeking technologies like ours with the potential to drive down cost and improve performance,” Lee said.
To learn more about BioSolar, visit biosolar.com.