Energy and Environment

Cenate – Centrifuge Nanotechnology: Nano silicon anodes for Li-ion batteries

This project is aimed at modifying the Dynatec reactor to be able to produce several types of nanostructured silicon and composite materials of silicon and carbon for use in Li-ion batteries. The project has received financial support from the EnergiX program under the Research Council of Norway.
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Klette, Hallgeir

Senior Engineer

 

Today's lithium ion batteries have to increase their capacity to enable them to play a bigger role in the transition to more renewable electricity production in the energy mix and obtain longer range for electric vehicles. This can be achieved by partially replacing carbon in the anode part of the battery with silicon. The methods which up to now has shown most promise for achieving this has been the use of nanostructured silicon in the form of nanowires, nano-tubes or other forms of nanostructures. The problem with using this type of nanostructures is that they are costly and time consuming to produce in laboratories and they are therefore not good candidates for use in large-scale commercial battery production. In the Dynatec reactor at IFE it is possible to produce nano-structured silicon at high speed in a centrifuge at a far lower cost than other methods for the production of nanomaterials. In the Cenate project we will build a specially adapted process based on a centrifuge reactor that will produce nano-structured silicon and carbon composites for use in Li-ion batteries. If we succeed, the concept will increase the capacity of current Li-ion batteries with up to 40% without significant increase in the cost to battery production. The material produced is adapted to today's value chain for battery production in order to facilitate a short way to commercialization.

In today’s Li-ion batteries carbon are used in anodes. The use of silicon and composite materials of carbon and silicon can increase the capacity of the anode of the battery by up to 10 times. However it is a challenge that silicon is brittle, and cracks under cycling. Uneven cracking quickly degrades the materials’ ability to absorb Li-ions. There is a lot of research showing that nanostructured silicon is capable of combining the high capacity with a long lifetime. The use of nanostructures is also central in achieving good transport of Li-ions. These structures are however costly and time consuming to produce. The Dynatec reactor has in other projects shown that one can increase the growth speed by up to 40 times compared to other methods. It has also been shown that it is possible to produce nanostructured silicon in the Dynatec reactor.

This project is aimed at modifying the Dynatec reactor to be able to produce several types of nanostructured silicon and composite materials of silicon and carbon for use in Li-ion batteries. The company Cenate has bought the rights to use the Dynatec reactor for production of these materials. The silicon will be produced by thermal decomposition of silane, and the carbon will be provided in solid state, and as a gas. The project is a collaboration between Cenate, Dynatec Engineering, Institute of Energy Technology, Dynatec and Syntatec SMV, and has received financial support from the EnergiX program under the Research Council of Norway.

Dynatec sentrifugereaktor

The Dynatec centrifuge reactor will be used to synthesize nanostructured materials for Li-ion batteries.

2016-08-03 Trygve Tveiterås Mongstad / Marte Orderud Skare