Semi-solid flow battery tech promises to lower production costs by up to 40%


From pv magazine global

24M Technologies, based in Cambridge, Mass., says it has simplified lithium-ion battery production with a new design that requires fewer materials and fewer steps to manufacture each cell. Its solution is a semi-solid flow battery in which the gooey electrodes are mixed directly into the electrolyte.

According to 24M, its SemiSolid cell manufacturing process and chemistry-agnostic platform can reduce manufacturing costs by up to 40%.

24M’s gooey electrode mix eliminates the energy-intensive process of drying and solidifying the electrodes in traditional lithium-ion production. The company says it also reduces the need for more than 80% of the inactive materials in traditional batteries, such as copper and aluminum.

The SemiSolid electrodes and unit cell construction are said to offer superb abuse tolerance, whereas their binder-free structure eliminates the need for hydro- or pyrometallurgical processes for battery recycling. According to the company’s website, 24M’s lithium-ion cells have energy density between 400-500 Wh/kg, specifically those made for the aviation industry.

In January of this year, 24M received a grant from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program to develop and scale a high-energy-density battery that uses a lithium metal anode and semi-solid cathode for use in electric aviation.

After being spun out of A123 Systems in 2010, 24M went on to acquire a renowned customer base, including license agreements with Volkswagen Group, Fujifilm Corporation, Kyrocera Corporation, Lucas TVS, Axxiva and FREYR. The last three companies are planning to build gigafactories based on 24M’s technology in India, China, Norway and the United States.

“The SemiSolid platform has been proven at the scale of hundreds of megawatts being produced for residential energy-storage systems. Now we want to prove it at the gigawatt scale,” says 24M CEO Naoki Ota.

More recently, 24M has entered a joint development agreement with ASX-listed graphite producer Volt Resources. The agreement will focus on coated spheronised purified graphite and also nonspherical graphite products to enhance lithium-ion battery performance.

The ongoing test work is being undertaken by Volt’s technology partner in the US, American Energy Technologies Co. (AETC), and progressing to support 24M’s commercialization activities in multiple markets, including electric vehicles, stationary storage and electric aviation.

At a later stage, the companies will be looking to enter into a binding offtake agreement that will leverage AETC’s inverted LIB anode materials flowsheet design to produce graphite products sourced from Volt’s 70% owned Zavalievsky Graphite business in Ukraine and future supply from its Bunyu Graphite Project in Tanzania.

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