Silicon-carbon anodes for more powerful lithium-ion batteries

EU funding for UDE

The Duisburg-based PCC Group company PCC Thorion GmbH and its research partners, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg and the Center for Nanointegration Duisburg-Essen (CENIDE) of the University of Duisburg-Essen, have launched a research project aimed at enhancing the performance of lithium-ion batteries. EU funding of 3.5 million euros is being used for the project. The aim is to scale up to industrial scale the production of the innovative silicon-carbon composite developed by PCC Thorion and Fraunhofer ISE as anode material and silicon nanoparticles suitable for this purpose.

Silicon production of PCC Group company PCC BakkiSilicon hf. in Iceland, primarily using electricity from geothermal energy. © PCC SE

A composite material developed by PCC Thorion and Fraunhofer ISE, which is considered a particularly effective anode active material for lithium-ion batteries, increases their capacity and enables longer ranges and shorter charging times. The material, a silicon-carbon composite, can be easily integrated into existing manufacturing processes and has shown exceptional results in terms of specific capacity and cycling stability. With this silicon-carbon composite, the collaboration partners aim to provide the fast-growing battery industry with a drop-in material that can be easily integrated into existing manufacturing processes and replace the graphite anode material that has been used to date. The consortium has also begun work on complete battery cells. With EU funding, the conditions are in place to expand and scale up production. The raw material silicon for the composite is produced by PCC BakkiSilicon exclusively from renewable energy sources, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the material.

Commercially, the batteries could be used in electric cars, particularly if charging times are reduced and range extended.

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