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Novel approach to Si-metal anodes could lower Li-ion battery cost

By Scott Jenkins |

A new approach to making silicon-based anodes for lithium-ion batteries has the potential to lower materials costs for batteries, while achieving higher energy and power. Silicon-based anodes are attractive because of silicon’s natural abundance and its high specific capacity, but R&D efforts aimed at incorporating silicon into electrodes have not succeeded at allowing sufficiently long cycle lives and high performance at lower cost. As an anode in Li-ion batteries, silicon’s volume expands and contracts a great deal during charge-discharge cycles, which strains the material and pulverizes it, reducing lifetime. Therefore, Si-based anodes require a balancing act to maximize energy capacity by increasing Si content, while maintaining the structural integrity of the anode over many charge-discharge cycles, and doing all that at low cost, explains David Lee, CEO of BioSolar LLC (Santa Clarita, Calif.; www.biosolar.com). Lee’s company has demonstrated a novel Si-metal anode that accommodates Si’s expansion, maintains electrode capacity and allows for the use of less expensive raw materials. Biosolar uses a unique set of materials and a proprietary process to embed Si nanoparticles in a metal-alloy matrix. Special efforts…
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