EEPower caught up with Sion Power CEO Tracy Kelley to bring you the news.
As the world strives for new batteries with improved performance and capacity, many are turning away from conventional lithium-ion architectures. In place of this, one battery technology that is gaining significant traction is lithium-metal batteries.
Sion Power’s Licerion battery solutions. Image used courtesy of Sion Power
Promising a huge boost in energy capacity over conventional lithium-ion batteries, lithium-metal batteries have huge potential in areas like electric vehicles. However, some major challenges still prevent lithium-metal batteries from being fully commercializable yet.
Sion Power’s proprietary technology is currently undergoing commercial evaluation. EEPower had the chance to interview Tracy Kelley, Sion Power’s CEO, to learn about the news.
One of the major emerging battery technologies is the lithium-metal battery.
In its simplest form, a cell based on lithium-metal technology is similar to today’s conventional lithium-ion cells, except for one major difference. Lithium-metal batteries sport an anode made of lithium metal instead of a graphite anode, as conventionally used in lithium-ion batteries. This transition from graphite to metal comes with some notable advantages.
Kelley told EE Power, “The main benefit of a lithium metal battery system is energy. Lithium has almost an order of magnitude more specific energy than graphite. This can significantly increase the energy output of a battery; equating to longer driving distances per battery charge.”
Thanks to the greater theoretical energy capacity of a lithium-metal anode, these battery types have huge potential to enable batteries with unprecedented capacity and hence, products with unprecedented battery life.
Sion Power’s Unique Lithium-Metal Battery
While many other companies and organizations are working on developing lithium-metal battery solutions, Sion Power believes they have a competitive advantage in terms of stability.
One of the major challenges with lithium-metal batteries is that lithium metal is very reactive, which leads to concerns over safety and battery degradation. Fortunately, Sion Power believes they’ve developed a solution to this problem with their Licerion energy storage technology.
“Licerion technology focuses on stabilizing lithium metal to enhance battery energy, life, and safety,” Kelley explained to EE Power. “Core to the technology is Sion Power’s proprietary lithium metal anode which promotes maximum energy while using less lithium. We have also developed a cell and pack compression system, which is essential to keeping the lithium in peak operating conditions.”
“Licerion technology focuses on stabilizing lithium metal to enhance battery energy, life, and safety,” Kelley explained to EE Power. “Core to the technology is Sion Power’s proprietary lithium metal anode which promotes maximum energy while using less lithium. We have also developed a cell and pack compression system which is essential to keeping the lithium in peak operating conditions.”
Available in high-energy and electric-vehicle-specific variations, Licerion products are protected by over 470 international patents and applications. Some notable specifications surrounding Licerion solutions include a gravimetric energy density of 400 Wh/kg for the 17.4 Ah EV pouch cell and a 490 Wh/ kg energy density for the high-energy pouches.
The company believes its Licerion products represent a gold standard for the lithium-metal industry.
Sion Reaches Commercial Evaluation
Recently, Sion Power reached a major milestone with the successful production of Licerion lithium metal cells for commercial evaluation. Specifically, the company produced 18,000 multilayer, 6 Ah to 20 AH lithium metal cells for EV use.
Putting the achievement in context, Kelley said, “…Licerion technology is beyond just something in a lab – it’s a real product that can be evaluated repeatedly and reliably.”
Where new battery technologies like lithium-metal are all too often relegated to academia, Sion is trying to show the industry that lithium-metal is a real technology, and it’s here right now. Ultimately, the company hopes its technology will accelerate the electrification of multiple modes of transportation – from long-haul trucking to passenger cars.