Kyocera to launch world first SemiSolid lithium-ion battery      

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Kyocera is doing its bit to accelerate the battery storage price revolution by launching the Enerezza residential storage fleet. The product will be available in 5, 10, and 15 kWh models and the devices will feature semi-solid lithium-ion battery architecture – a world first.  

The Japanese electronics company in June piloted a battery manufacturing process together with U.S. start-up 24M, which has championed a new approach to lithium-ion battery production developed by MIT researcher Yet-Ming Chiang. Chiang founded 24M in 2010 to bring the technology to market and last year Kyocera began pilot runs to validate real-world efficiency.

The Japanese brand has now announced its newest fleet of residential storage devices – to go into mass production by fall – will be based on the SemiSolid cell architecture. It is claimed the 24M manufacturing platform delivers a significant structural bill of materials advantage and requires substantially less upfront capital.

“Kyocera’s launch of the Enerezza residential energy storage product line marks a significant milestone for 24M,” said Naoki Ota, president and chief technology officer of the start-up. “After many years of hard work, our technology is commercially available thanks to our dedicated partner, Kyocera.”

Savings

The partner companies claim significant production cost reductions from the new process. Material costs for SemiSolid batteries are around 40% lower than for standard lithium-ion battery architecture and the manufacturing time is two-thirds shorter. That is because in SemiSolid electrodes the electrolyte is mixed with materials to form a clay-like slurry, eliminating the need for a binder. Inactive materials are removed as a result, along with costly processing steps such as drying, solvent recovery, calendaring and electrolyte filling.

The production process also makes it possible to manufacture electrodes four to five times thicker than the industry standard, reducing the need for copper, aluminum and a separator to offer further positive pricing and an energy density several times higher than rival products, added 24M. The manufacturer claimed last year those benefits would add up to a capital requirement which is half that of conventional lithium-ion energy storage products. The start-up had already claimed to have achieved energy density of 350 Wh/kg with its SemiSolid cell architecture by that point.

“Kyocera and our customers benefit from long battery life, unparalleled safety and the low-cost approach enabled by 24M’s unique manufacturing process,” said Toshihide Koyano, deputy general manager of the Corporate Solar Energy Group at the Japanese company. “At Kyocera, we believe that 24M’s SemiSolid technology is the emerging standard for lithium-ion battery manufacturing. We are delighted to be the first company to deliver residential energy storage products using 24M’s novel process.”