Charged Up at the Battery Show

By Nathanael Downes, Research Scientist. Dr. Downes is working to discover optimized routes for the preparation of CHS and to design recipes for its application in technologies such as lithium-ion battery anodes and LEDs. Nathanael is a recent doctoral graduate of the Chemistry department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Last month, I went to North America’s largest battery conference, The Battery Show, in Novi, Michigan to attend the technical portion of the conference. In my role as Research Scientist with The Coretec Group, I was excited to learn more broadly about state-of-the-art approaches to battery development and identify by what benchmarks experts in the field determine success in a battery. Though the conference name suggests the agenda would narrowly concern battery development, the technical portion covered all topics adjacent to batteries and electric vehicles.  

Through the full three days, I attended some 20 sessions, including technical presentations and panel discussions. In either format, the sessions were largely spearheaded by leading executives within their respective companies. In the panel discussions, one of the most intriguing to me was “Optimizing Fast Charge for Batteries; Evaluating Different Solutions.” It taught me that in contemporary batteries, there is a necessary trade-off that is required with current state-of-the-art batteries. On one hand, to conveniently charge a charge over the space of some 15-30 minutes, would require what is known has a high C rate, indicating how much electricity is being run into the battery, which is synonymous with fast charge phenomena. However, with modern graphite-based anodes, this causes severe degradation to the battery, and results in a rapid capacity loss, which limits range. On the other side, one solution would be to make a much bigger battery that hosts larger capacity, allowing people to charge it less frequently. Thus, the dialogue being held in this section was concerned with arguments for what simplifies life for the end-user.  

My largest takeaway in this dialogue, and what I’m proud to be pursuing, is that unlike other companies right now, we at The Coretec Group have a strategy to deliver both and believe it to be firmly achievable. With our SEI-engineered silicon-based anode approach, we are targeting a battery that will fundamentally charge faster and retain more charge over more cycles.  

 I also attended a few talks concerning Silicon-based anodes. In specific, I listened to Axel Schönecker from E-Magy and Andre Zeitoun of Ionic Materials. Both companies were mostly concerned with making their overall presence known, especially Ionic Materials, who were publicly speaking for the first time, and both demonstrated some preliminary data showing their batteries stably cycled around 300 times with 80% capacity retention (for E-Magy) and a first cycle 2,700 mAh g-1 capacity (for Ionic Materials).  

Cumulatively, I learned that the battery formulations (including which binder, solvent, and electrolyte to use) are still largely standard and that while there is bustle and movement towards the development of an affordable, faster charging, and larger capacity Si-based batteries, the field has quite a way to go and that we at The Coretec Group are in this market at the right time and with the right team to make real the dream of next-generation batteries. 


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