The joint development agreement, which is worth ‘several million pounds’, will see the two companies co-operate in the development and evaluation of Nexeon’s silicon materials. These are designed to replace carbon as the anode of Li-ion batteries. Silicon has major advantages over carbon for vehicle batteries, being capable of delivering a significantly greater power to weight performance, and delivering more energy between charges.
Scientists at Nexeon and their OEM partner will be able to modify the structural properties of the special silicon materials to achieve the best balance of properties for electric vehicle use. Capabilities such as energy stored, time between charges and peak available current can be adjusted by modifications to the proprietary production process.
Nexeon moved to a new, larger site in 2010 and has now completed commissioning of a major new pilot plant that will be the focus for much of the optimisation work. The plant is an important asset, allowing the Nexeon team to simulate the production processes seen in full scale battery manufacture, and to gain realistic costing data.
“This is an important step for silicon anode technology in the automotive sector”, said Dr Scott Brown, CEO of Nexeon. “We plan to work with leading partners with the capability to introduce our products directly into their supply chain. In automotive, being able to reduce the ‘range anxiety’ factor will allow a much faster adoption of EVs in many countries.”
Nexeon recently announced plans to build a 250 tonne/annum manufacturing facility in the UK and has raised £55 million in total, giving it the capability of commercial levels of materials supply.