3 Reasons Why 3D Electrodes Will Drive Battery Cost Down and Improve Performance
With battery packs being the most expensive component of EVs and with thousands of cells needed per vehicle, industry players know that to reduce costs, important changes need to be made. At the same time, manufacturers are also aware that in order to increase EV adoption, many unconvinced drivers expect a longer battery range and faster charging time. In short, we need better performances and lower costs. While many efforts are being made by the industry to achieve this, from building higher capacity factories to increasing the scales of production and from improving manufacturing techniques to using new battery chemistries (for example solid-state), there is still a long way to go before such significant changes are achieved.
While 3D electrodes may be a game-changer in addressing this challenge thanks to their proven advantages in terms of battery performance, their cost still remains high. Bringing their cost down will allow EVs to be more affordable and therefore attainable to a wider public. But can the cost of 3D electrodes also be reduced without compromising on their performance? Through optimized manufacturing processes and having less materials and steps, the cost of 3D electrodes could be brought down.
A Novel Manufacturing and Cost-Effective Process
To power the world, better batteries are needed but for them to be used, they need to be produced inexpensively and on a mass scale. Though the world is starting to understand the benefits of 3D electrodes, their price is still high and a method to create battery-grade 3D structures at a comparable cost to traditional 2D ones is needed.
Various factors including advanced manufacturing will allow the cost of batteries based on Addionics 3D electrodes to be brought down.
Less Layers + Lower Cost Materials = Less Cost
Once a 3D structure is in place, the required energy density can be achieved by using fewer electrode layers per cell, resulting in direct cost savings. Indeed, fewer layers means fewer pairs of anodes and cathodes, and hence fewer separators. With the cost of the separator being around 7.3% of the total cell cost, a battery with 20%-50% fewer layers can have a direct cost saving of up to 3.7%. Fewer layers also signifies that coating, drying, calendaring and slitting all need to be done fewer times, reducing manufacturing costs.
Furthermore, while each layer has an amount of yield loss, the more layers there are, the more yield loss there is. Therefore, having fewer layers increases the production yield, leading to a cost reduction per kWh.
Additionally, a 3D structure design implies that the electrode material wraps around the 3D structures, which results in a significantly improved adhesion between the electrode material and the current collector. As such, not only do 3D cells require less binder material, they also can use lower cost binders.
Faster Drying Cycles
While 3D structures improve the adhesion between current collectors and the electrode material, allowing the use of different binders, this also enables the use of binders with simpler temperature restrictions. Consequently, the drying temperature can be increased, reducing drying times and subsequent costs.
All the Extras
In addition to less materials needed and faster drying cycles, further cost benefits of 3D electrodes include higher energy density, meaning fewer battery cells are required to achieve a given capacity, reducing the total cost of the pack. Similarly, as the overall weight of the pack is reduced, this also reduces costs and creates other benefits throughout the system.
Thanks to better heat dissipation and a more even temperature distribution, lower cost and simplified cooling and management systems can be used. At the same time, a flexible cell design allows for customized structured as well as optimized form factors that can save space in the end products.
Drop In Solution
Despite being a newer structure with very different characteristics, more and more industry players are looking into switching to 3D electrodes and fortunately, they can replace the existing 2D foil in a 1 to 1 replacement. Indeed, Addionics’ solution can be integrated into any battery assembly line; no expensive integration is required and no new battery factories need to be built. Additionally, all Addionics cells to date have been produced in conventional manufacturing processes without any extra tooling or steps.
By focusing on the manufacturing process, Addionics is market-competitive with reduced levels of production that can lower the cost of batteries when they’re produced at high-volume manufacturing.
To find out more about how Addionics can lower the cost of 3D electrodes or for collaboration opportunities, get in touch.