$10.1 Million Navy ONR Contract for High Energy, High-Nickel NMC Li-ion Batteries

August 13, 2019 by Paul Shepard

Silatronix® has been awarded a $10.1 million contract from the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR). The contract, entitled “Organosilicon Electrolytes for Safe, High Energy, High-Nickel NMC (Nickel Magnesium Cobalt)  Li-ion Batteries” will focus on the use of Organosilicon (OS) electrolytes to improve the cycling stability of Li-ion cells using NMC622 and NMC811 cathode materials in combination with various state-of-the-art anode materials.

This ONR project leverages Silatronix® substantial expertise in the development of new OS based solvents for Li-ion battery applications, and the Company’s world class, Li-ion battery materials evaluation laboratory and analysis capability.

The combination of OS electrolytes and high-nickel NMC cathode materials have been used in early demonstrations to enable high performance Li-ion battery cells with lower costs, longer lifetimes, and fast charge capability. Specifically, electrolytes with Silatronix® OS3® material have enabled the use of silicon anodes in Li-ion cells that produce energy densities in excess of 400 Wh/kg.

High-nickel NMC based Li-ion battery cells provide an excellent balance of power capability and energy density. This makes them suited for a wide range of applications including mobile communications, uninterruptible power supplies, and even electric mobility and electric vehicles.

In addition to their versatility, high-nickel NMC Li-ion cells also have the largest installed production capacity base, making them an ideal low cost, high performance choice. By further improving these cells with OS technology, they become more suitable to support the extreme safety and reliability demands of Navy and military applications.

The scope of the project is specifically focused on developing a rigorous scientific understanding of the effect of OS materials on the performance and safety for high-nickel NMC based battery cells, and how these materials can be optimized together to deliver maximum benefit in both lab-scale and production scale, full cell demonstrations. Testing in combination with various silicon-graphite composite (Si-C) anode materials will also take place to capitalize on the already demonstrated synergy of OS technology with silicon-based anode materials.

Silatronix® said it is particularly enthusiastic about the market changing benefits that OS and high-nickel NMC can provide together.

“We are helping to make high performance, low cost Li-ion a reality” said Silatronix® CEO, Mark Zager. “Our early OS3® customers are reducing $/kWh costs by using lower cost cathode materials that substitute higher amounts of nickel in place of higher cost cobalt. OS3® fits neatly into this equation by delivering the high level of electrolyte stability needed to take full advantage of these new cathode materials. As a bonus, we are also seeing tremendous benefit in fast charge cycling protocols.”