Winning the Global Battery Arms Race

Part 4: A ‘Drop-in’ Advanced Battery Production Process

That brings us to the second specific near-term (2025) objective of the Blueprint, “Dedicate resources to expedite the scale-up and commercialization of novel technologies and manufacturing techniques.” Dr. George Crabtree, Director, Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), Argonne National Laboratory, says that for the U.S. to achieve a competitive or even a leading position in Li-ion battery manufacturing, the advanced battery technology, “should be capable of being ‘dropped in’ to the current Li-ion battery manufacturing process.”

A Standard Li-ion Battery Production Process

Source: Enovix Corporation

A ‘Drop-in’ Advanced Battery Production Process

The graphic below illustrates our changes to the standard three-stage production process. The first change is replacing graphite with silicon in our anode material. Other than a change in materials, our electrode fabrication process is identical to standard fabrication processes. The major ‘drop-in’ change is replacement of standard wound cell assembly with our proprietary roll-to-stack cell assembly, which consists of precise laser patterning and high-speed stacking. The final change is our inline pre-lithiation process that occurs after initial charge formation. First cycle formation efficiency of a graphite anode is about 90–95%. First cycle formation efficiency of a silicon anode is only about 50–60%. Our pre-lithiation process compensates for the low first cycle formation efficiency of the silicon anode. For a more dynamic view, watch our ‘drop-in’ cell assembly production process video.

Source: Enovix Corporation

The Blueprint states that, “In addition to the economic imperative for a competitive EV and advanced battery sector, the Defense Department (DoD) requires reliable, secure, and advanced energy storage technologies to support critical missions carried out by joint forces, contingency bases, and at military installations.” The next and final post in this series will address our contract to demonstrate advanced 3D Silicon™ Li-ion batteries for the U.S. Army.

Enovix, based in Fremont, California, is the first company capable of volume production of advanced Lithium-ion batteries with a 100% active silicon anode.