Dutch start-up Leydenjar, along with a number of development partners, is opening a pilot plant in Eindhoven to demonstrate the viability of lithium-ion batteries featuring silicon anodes. Substituting graphite for silicon increases energy capacity up to 50 percent, Leydenjar claims.
Silicon is an excellent host of lithium ions, yet silicon battery anodes never took off because the material tends to crack when repeatedly taking in and checking out its guests. Building on a PECVD process originally developed at the TNO research institute ECN, Leydenjar can create nanoporous silicon structures that can handle the stress.
“The new pure silicon anode technology, which we developed together with ECN, will mean an incredible breakthrough,” says Christian Rood, founder of Leydenjar. “Using the current technology, it’s difficult to up the energy contained in a battery, but our approach means an increase of 50 percent without having to dramatically change the production process. That’s a major advance towards meeting the growing demand for energy storage, be it in e-flight, electric vehicles, consumer electronics or stationary storage.”
The purpose of the pilot plant, which should be up and running mid-2020, is to demonstrate that superior batteries can be manufactured for the same price as regular ones. The company will not be selling batteries but manufacturing equipment.