The Battery Show 2022 – “The need for collaboration in any commercialization effort”

By Dr. Michelle Tokarz, VP of Partnerships and Innovation. Dr. Tokarz works closely with our global research institutions as they evaluate CHS and customers as they research integrating CHS and silicon anode active materials for lithium-ion batteries into their proprietary processes. 

In my role as VP of Partnerships and Innovation at The Coretec Group, I recently attended The Battery Show in Novi, MI in order to understand recent trends. This annual event showcases new innovations in battery technology, battery ecosystems, and the supply chain, and attracts nearly all stakeholders in the industry.   

Opening keynote addresses from various scientists, engineers, and industry leaders highlighted the complexity of this particular industry. While the battery market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 34%, with $300B in investments by 2030, there are unique aspects that make it difficult to navigate. First, there really are few, if no existing business models to look to for insights. New technologies from battery chemistries, to battery architectures, can be EXTREMELY complicated and difficult to understand. Additionally, government and social pressures to move quickly toward greater electrification add additional layers of complexity with regard to funding strategies and the implementation of necessary infrastructure to support these new technologies.   

These insights from the keynote speakers were further reinforced as I walked the show floor and interacted with exhibitors. There were many products and services dedicated to the mitigation of thermal runaway, fast charging stations and associated hardware, and novel recycling solutions. While all of these solutions are needed to make significant and effective advances toward electrification, many people I talked with believe that much of this is premature given the current state of battery technology development. For example, with regards to recycling efforts, the statement was made, “You can’t recycle what you don’t have,” implying that recycling efforts are well-intentioned but too early to have any real impact.   

In speaking with exhibitors, I found many examples of larger companies that had indeed explored silicon or silicon-based anodes at one time. However, they typically abandoned these efforts due to the cost of the particular technology they had developed, and some of these decisions didn’t occur until the pilot-line stage. This finding in particular highlights the complexity of commercializing these technologies in that oftentimes, the technical challenges are not ONLY at the ideation and MVP stage but also at the scaling stage. In fact, many of the larger companies expressed skepticism about engaging with the smaller companies focused on new battery chemistries, explaining that they “only work at the cell level and beyond.”  

When describing Coretec’s unique silicon-based anode solution at a high level, many exhibitors expressed interest in learning more and asked to stay informed as to our progress. Additionally, given the current stage of development of many types of battery chemistries, time is of the essence. In my experience in commercialization of new technologies, the best strategies include the coordination of the necessary parties that each bring their own technical competence. In the battery world, this includes chemistry, rheology, scaling, and manufacturing capabilities at a minimum.  

The chain of battery creation, development, scaling, and implementation is long and complicated but, The Coretec Group’s Endurion battery development program is ideally placed within this ecosystem. Our unique silicon-anode technology will add value to companies looking to further the cycle life of EV batteries. 

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