Optimizing the Efficiency of Electric Vehicles with Silicon-Based Battery Technology

By Saumitra Jagdale

Freelance Technology Writer

April 07, 2022


Optimizing the Efficiency of Electric Vehicles with Silicon-Based Battery Technology
Image Provided by OneD Battery Sciences

With the rise of electric vehicles, there has been a demand in the industry to attain more efficient, environment-friendly technologies for EV batteries. A revolutionary platform, Sinanode meets the market requirements and provides a solution in a cost-effective way. 

The newly released Sinanode is a breakthrough technology developed by OneD Battery Sciences. It is a combination of technologies to produce silicon nanowires that are fiber-like structures fused onto graphite particles used in the anodes of EV batteries. This technology supercharges commercial graphite by fusing large numbers of very small silicon nanowires. With many of the silicon nanowires on each graphite particle, the connected silicon can triple the amount of energy stored, and thus half the speed of charging, and with a decrease cost. Sinanode is the only large-scale manufacturing step that simplifies the process of nano silicon technology in order to live up to the market demands for EV batteries.

The feature that really makes Sinanode stand out, is its ability to add value to the current supply chain processes in place with carmakers. Rather than trying to replace the existing suppliers, incorporating Sinanode in manufacturing can replace the inefficient steps in the current processing of silicon additives. These inefficient steps are replaced with a scalable technology that in turn increases performance and decreases the costs of the materials and cells used in EVs.

Sinanode does not only enhance performance, but also reduces the carbon footprint. The more silicon that is used, the smaller the footprint. Greater silicon to graphite ratio significantly lowers the CO2 produced per kWh of battery manufactured, making it a great low carbon option for manufacturers. 

Silicon Nanoparticles and Nanowires

In traditional methods, the silicon oxide particles or carbon-coated nano silicon particles were mixed in with graphite. These approaches are dependent on special polymers to stabilize or prevent silicon fracturing and electrical isolation. They are limited by several key factors being the amount of silicon added or accessible, the manufacturing scale or cost, and the lack of compatibility with the large investments across the EV supply chains.

Silicon is starting to be in EV models as it can store up to ten times more energy than graphite. However, due to technical challenges, this technology is limited to only a small amount of modest improvements in battery performance. Efficiently adding larger amounts of silicon is a much-needed breakthrough to produce competitive EVs that have high performance across entire EV product lines. While other solutions cannot meet these technical and economic challenges, Sinanode silicon nanowire technology can.

Image credits: OneD Battery Sciences

The Silicon Nanoparticles are not ideal for the process of lithiation ( where the lithium ions travel through the nanoparticles during charging) as it expands and increases the surface area. When the surface area is increased, the Solid Electrolyte Interphase (SEI) around the nanoparticles is stretched and becomes less stable. In the nanoparticles, it is difficult to keep the graphite interface mechanically and electronically intact during the many cycles. On the other hand, silicon nanowires have the opposite behavior. Silicon nanowires exhibit the following changes:

  • Supercharges commercial graphite
  • Leverages existing EV cell factories
  • Faster charging and more power
  • Increases range and battery life

Silicon nanowires are electrical wires that are smaller than a human hair. The Sinanode easily attaches these silicon nanowires directly onto the graphite with the help of silane (a gas produced from metallurgical grade silicon), nitrogen, and modest amounts of electricity. When charged, silicon nanowires expand and contract but do not crack.

With more than a decade of research and development, this Sinanode technology platform is perfectly designed to optimize safe, and fast charging, of high energy density EV cells. It is truly a revolutionary technology that meets all the customer demands for electric vehicle chargers.

Saumitra Jagdale is a Backend Developer, Freelance Technical Author, Global AI Ambassador (SwissCognitive), Open-source Contributor in Python projects, Leader of Tensorflow Community India, and Passionate AI/ML Enthusiast.

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