Credit: Saketh Garunda, Unsplash
With the world on the verge of electrification, one of the main factors pushing it forward is batteries, especially those allowing mobility. Big companies are growing desperate for a breakthrough that will allow full adoption and a decarbonized future. What they want and need is better battery technology, performance and costs. But how can this be achieved?
1. The Edge of Electrification
With mounting pressure on big companies to be more green, investing in improved technologies is never ending. Today, many of these big companies are on the verge of electrification but one of the main components, the battery, is lagging behind and holding them back. Indeed, the batteries that brought technology to where we are today are not making enough significant upgrades anymore to reach the next step of full electrification. Therefore, these companies are now heavily looking into new solutions and technologies.
2. The Rush for Improved Batteries
Until recently, the battery industry had a more chemistry-oriented approach to develop a more powerful and cost-effective battery solution. However, this approach has only created incremental changes in the last decade and is yet to produce the next step change in battery performance. As a result, big companies that are striving for new technologies understand that the solution might come from another direction and battery design might be the answer.
3. Chemistry-Based Solutions Have Reached their Limits
Today’s batteries face the ongoing challenge of being high power or high energy: either the batteries store more energy or they can charge and discharge quicker. In terms of EVs, this means no single battery can provide both long range and fast charging. To move to the next generation of batteries, we have to produce batteries that have both, which is not possible with today's battery technology.
4. A Long Development Time
Battery chemistries take a long time to develop and optimize, they tend to be riskier and cost more. As such, battery chemistry has reached its limit as any changes made now are only incremental. This has led big companies to look for a more flexible solution which will allow for less time needed, bigger changes and less costs and risks associated. The holy grail now is an advanced battery design that could enhance any type of battery chemistry.
In the case of car manufacturers, they have grown tired of small chemistry updates, today’s manufacturing techniques and battery technologies, and are now looking for other solutions.
5. Manufacturing Costs Still Need to Be Improved and Reduced
With so many different available options, today’s batteries have yet to be really scalable and are making it hard to find a solution for mass production. Research is constantly being made on new materials, meaning the final product will take more time to produce and will come at a higher cost. Old manufacturing techniques need to be overhauled as costs are not dropping quickly enough, meaning AI-based manufacturing must now enter the industry. Indeed, the cost will remain high until a real scalable solution is found and manufacturing processes improved to reach competitiveness.
With these reasons as to why all big companies are looking to break away from the current battery cycle they’re in, what will start the anticipated revolution? Enter 3D batteries.
Is Physics the New Chemistry?
Nowadays, a new approach of battery design and architecture, based on physics, is getting a lot of attention from big companies. From a higher performance to being more adaptable to improved manufacturing, big companies want to work with new 3D battery structures as they look to have higher performing batteries but with less costs, and search for safer and greener alternatives.
Today’s battery technology still comes with the tradeoff of high power or high energy. 3D structures allow high power rates while offering high energy, severely minimizing the energy / power tradeoff. Indeed, with range anxiety still a decisive factor for avoiding switching exclusively to EVs, improving battery performance will allow for better results for increasing the range in addition to cutting down charging time. Furthermore, 3D structures also improve the life cycle and safety of the battery by allowing higher mechanical stability and better heat dissipation.
While many different chemistry-based solutions have been tried and tested, they only ever achieve slight changes in battery performance. These incremental improvements can impact a specific battery chemistry and application, however, they cannot push the industry forward: a wide application-compatible solution is needed to create a real change. By being chemistry agnostic, a physics-based solution can improve any type of chemistry. Rather than competing with different production processes, it complements them all and can be included in any production line as a drop-in solution. This new 3D approach can be implemented into different kinds of existing battery chemistries such as li-ion, NMC, LFP, li-polymer and more, but also into emerging chemistries like silicon and solid state. Moreover, this approach is also advantageous as it reduces the risk-factor for big companies.
Improved Manufacturing Processes
The aim for every company is to use new manufacturing technologies to improve their manufacturing processes and ultimately reduce costs. By using cell AI-optimization and digitized manufacturing, industry players can improve battery specifications thanks to more personalized, reactive and scalable options. In the case of automakers, their aim is to reduce car production costs and therefore retail prices in order to allow the full adoption of EVs. Furthermore, using these batteries can accelerate electrification by allowing EVs to appeal to a broader audience in terms of performance.
Addionics’ physics-focused approach, unique technology and manufacturing process enable the best battery architecture to be designed and built in order to achieve the desired performance. For manufacturers, these 3D-structured batteries can be integrated into production lines at a low-cost while providing a significantly improved performance and shifting the reliance on fossil fuels away.