Battery manufacturing tech doubles voltage up to 8V
Ilika plc has been formally granted a patent for two of its applications in the United Kingdom that cover the vapour deposition processes employed in manufacturing solid-state batteries straight from the elements. The patents were jointly filed with Toyota Motor Company in 2011.
The two patents form a key part of the family of patents and pending applications that cover the complete methodology for producing stacked solid-state cell batteries, a world first technological breakthrough on the road to commercial solid-state devices, announced by Ilika in January.
In one automated procedure, Ilika simultaneously produced one hundred identical solid-state batteries using the company's proprietary process technology. Each battery consists of two cells deposited in series producing a composite device with a second cell on top of the first. This has resulted in a doubling of the voltage available from the battery to approximately 8V.
Further development work is continuing to increase the number of cells in each stacked battery and also their cross sectional area. The batteries are being developed to contain sufficient energy for initial commercialisation in network sensor applications. Since October 2013, Ilika has had a single solid-state lithium ion battery cell on test. The cell has been rapidly charged and discharged 2,200 times, which is equivalent to demonstrating a lifetime of around six years in a typical consumer electronics application. Demonstrations of longer lifetimes are in progress.
Solid-state lithium ion batteries offer a number safety and performance benefits compared with existing commercially available lithium ion batteries. The solid-state batteries are non-flammable and can be charged six times faster. Solid-state batteries, which are longer lasting and are able to retain charge four times longer, also provide increased energy density being capable of containing twice the energy for the same volume and weight
The joint patent filings resulted from collaborative work undertaken by Ilika and Toyota, which commenced in 2008.
British priority filing for these patents were made and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) international applications based upon these priority applications then filed 12 months later which have since progressed to national filings in other important geographical jurisdictions such as Japan, China, the USA and Europe. The two patents are the earliest filings of a growing portfolio of intellectual property (IP) that illustrates Ilika's approach to solid state battery production using evaporation sources. The more recent applications in the portfolio contain both jointly-owned and solely owned IP.
The scalable stacked cell architecture which Ilika can produce enables the simple fabrication of cells over a wide range of sizes. Ilika intends initially to produce micro-battery prototypes designed for powering Internet of Things wireless sensors, which is a rapidly growing segment expected to create an addressable market for microbatteries in excess of 1bn by 2017. The battery architecture will subsequently be scaled-up, using the same process but with faster fabrication rates, to produce devices suitable for the largest markets for lithium ion batteries in consumer electronics, including mobile phones.
Graeme Purdy, Ilika CEO, said: "This news supports Ilika's ongoing customer engagements with OEMs in the sensor, consumer electronics and automotive sectors across three continents."
- Paul Buckley
EE Times Europe
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