Silicon anode specialist Nexeon, along with a couple of partners, has been awarded £7 million in Innovate UK funding for the SUNRISE project, which will develop battery materials based on silicon as a replacement for carbon in the cell anode
Nexeon will lead the silicon material development and scale-up stages of the project, while polymer provider Synthomer will lead the development of a next-generation polymer binder optimized to work with silicon, and ensure anode/binder cohesion during a lifetime of charges.
Silicon is currently being adopted as a partial replacement for carbon – typically up to 10% – in battery anodes, but problems caused by expansion when the cells are charged and discharged remain a hurdle. Project SUNRISE addresses the silicon expansion and binder system issues, and allows more silicon to be used, further increasing energy density.
“The biggest problems facing EVs – range anxiety, cost, charge time or charging station availability – are almost all related to limitations of the batteries,” says Nexeon CEO Dr. Scott Brown. “Silicon anodes are now well established on the technology road maps of major automotive OEMs and cell makers, and Nexeon has received support from UK and global OEMs, several of whom will be involved in this project as it develops.”