Bridging the Gap: Advancing America’s Battery Manufacturing and Supply Chain
By Michelle Tokarz, VP Partnerships and Innovation
The widespread push for electrification is driving demand for greater supplies of lithium-based batteries to power electric vehicles and expand stationary power storage. Recognizing that incremental changes to the status quo will not be enough to satisfy demand and achieve the current administration’s goal of a 100% clean-energy economy by 2050, the U.S. Department of Energy is encouraging government and industry collaboration to expand the domestic battery supply chain.
In support of that effort, the Li-Bridge, a public-private alliance committed to accelerating the development of a robust and secure domestic supply chain for lithium-based batteries, hosted the “Bridging the Gap: Advancing America’s Battery Manufacturing and Supply Chain” virtual conference in March.
The virtual conference drew more than 1,400 participants nationwide and more than 100 companies applied to present. The Coretec Group was among those selected to present its technology. I was honored to participate in that capacity as well as to learn from industry colleagues working on a variety of the challenges the nation faces in ramping up domestic electrification capacity.
The conference highlighted a broad range of needs and shortfalls that must be met to satisfy demand. Participants spoke about everything from battery component advancements and better overall battery performance to workforce and supply-chain challenges. Overall, there was consensus that raw material supply and recycling efforts are among the most needed solutions in the lifecycle of lithium-ion-battery production.
Participants also stressed the importance of landing on solutions that will last longer than any singular presidential administration. Li-Bridge intends to provide a platform to do just that, said Venkat Srinivasan, director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science, who provided opening comments each day, polled the audience and moderated sessions.
The Coretec Group was one of a handful of companies to present on work in silicon anodes. PPG, Bühler Group, Sila Nanotechnologies and NanoGraf Corporation also discussed work they are doing to increase battery energy capacity using silicon anodes. We believe our technology – in which we are applying our innovations in engineered silicon to the anode – will not only produce batteries with increased energy density, like our competition, but will solve the cycle-life issues that have been especially troublesome for silicon anode developers to date. We are building our prototype battery using silicon-based nanoparticles to demonstrate the ability to include an artificial solid-electrolyte-interphase (SEI) that doesn’t break down and is capable of conducting lithium ions.