Silicon is seen as a promising alternative to graphite in lithium-ion battery (LIB) anodes, due to its abundance and higher energy-storage capability — silicon is said to store ten times more energy than graphite in LIB applications. However, manufacturing processes for silicon-based battery materials have been hampered by complexity, toxicity and high costs, making them infeasible for large-scale production. Advano (New Orleans, La.; www.advano.io) is addressing these scale issues with their new processing technology. “Advano eliminates the toxic process of producing silicon, as well as harmful mining or quarrying of silica sand, by upcycling scrap silicon waste from semiconductor and solar-panel manufacturing,” explains Alexander Girau, Advano founder and CEO. “By leveraging manufacturing technologies and infrastructure that already exist, Advano can provide batteries that output more power and are cost-efficient,” adds Girau.
Advano has applied a proprietary surface-functionalization platform to its silicon material, A-SiFx, which enables precise manipulation of material surface and supports compatibility with polymer and solid-electrolyte components, making it easier to incorporate into an anode. “Advano has engineered a silicon solution to prevent swelling and create a permeable solid-electrolyte interphase layer, overall enhancing the battery charging cycle,” says Girau. Advano’s A-SiFx is currently used as an additive to improve the energy storage of LIBs, and eventually will be used to fully replace graphite, resulting in optimized anode energy density. Earlier this year, Advano opened its first manufacturing facility, located in New Orleans. The new facility is slated to produce 10 ton/yr of A-SiFx by the first quarter of 2021. The company also recently announced its first commercial partnership, with Mitsui Kinzoku SBI Material Innovation Fund, a joint venture between Mitsui Kinzoku and financial services firm SBI.