Toshiba To Build New SCiB Battery Production Facility

January 04, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

Toshiba Corp. announced plans to construct a new dedicated production facility for what it describes as its "safe, long-life rapid charge SCiB battery, in anticipation of strong future demand." By setting up a second production facility Toshiba expects to position itself for a surge in demand for SCiB for industrial and automotive applications from fiscal year 2010 on. Toshiba aims to start construction of the new facility in the fall of 2009, and to start production in fall 2010.

SciB – the Super Charge ion Battery – is Toshiba’s rechargeable battery that is said to offer excellent safety, long-life and rapid charge. SCiB started to ship in April 2008. Toshiba currently produces SCiB at Saku Operations in Nagano prefecture.

Toshiba has selected Kashiwazaki city in Niigata prefecture, northwest Japan, as the primary candidate for the new production site. Kashiwazaki seeks to realize a low-carbon society by promoting electric vehicles (EV) and to attract EV-related businesses. The city has applied for recognition as a model area for the "EV and plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHV) town concept," which is promoted by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to encourage adoption of EV and PHV. Toshiba found Kashiwazaki’s approach consistent with its own goals in the SCiB business, and was also attracted by the city’s subsidy program.

Among the major characteristics of the SCiB: it adopts a new negative-electrode material that offers a high level of thermal stability and a high flash point electrolyte, and has a structure resistant to internal short circuiting and thermal runaway. The possibility of rupture or combustion is very low. Its capacity loss after 3,000 cycles of rapid charge and discharge is less than 10%. SCiB has a long cycle life, and is able to repeat the charge-discharge cycle over 6,000 times. This means that the SCiB can be continuously used for more than 10 years with a once-a-day recharge-discharge cycle.

The safety characteristics of SCiB allow recharge with a current as large as 50 amperes (A), allowing the SCiB Cell and SCiB Battery Module to recharge to 90% of full capacity in only five minutes. SCiB has an input-output performance equivalent to that of an electric double layer capacitor. This feature is suited to high power applications.

The SCiB is said to operate well in temperature extremes, with sufficient discharge at temperatures as low as -30°C. This characteristic also assures wide application in cold climates. The SCiB is housed in an SCiB Battery Module comprising ten 4.2Ah SCiB cells aligned in series connection, plus a battery management system.

In addition to applications that include electric bicycles, motorcycles, automated guided vehicles, electric forklift trucks and construction machinery, which already use rechargeable batteries, the SCiB can be applied to electric power regeneration and stabilization in emergency power sources and wind power systems. Application in hybrid cars is also planned, with the intent of extending application to electric cars in the future, after advancing development of a high-performance SCiB cell.