Most of today’s electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries—the same kind of batteries used in cell phones and laptop computers. Most Li-Ion battery packs have a driving range limited to 100 miles on a single charge and account for nearly 65% of the total cost of EVs. To compete in the market with gasoline-based vehicles, EVs must cost less and drive farther. An EV that is cost-competitive with gasoline would require a battery with twice the energy storage of today’s state-of-the-art Li-Ion battery at 30% of the cost.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Inorganic Specialists’ project consists of material and manufacturing development for a new type of Li-Ion battery material, a silicon-coated paper. Silicon-based batteries are advantageous due to silicon’s ability to store large amounts of energy. Yet, the technology has not been able to withstand multiple charge/discharge cycles. The thinner the silicon-based material, the better it can handle multiple charge/discharge cycles. Inorganic Specialists’ extremely thin silicon-coated paper can store 4 times more energy than existing Li-Ion batteries. The team is improving manufacturing capability in two key areas: 1) expanding existing papermaking equipment to continuously produce the silicon-coated paper, and 2) creating machinery that will silicon-coat the paper via a moving process, to demonstrate manufacturing feasibility. These manufacturing improvements could meet the energy storage criteria required for multiple charge/discharge cycles. Inorganic Specialists’ silicon-coated paper’s properties have the potential to make it a practical, cost-effective transformative Li-Ion battery material.
If successful, Inorganic Specialists’ Li-Ion battery would provide more energy storage capacity and range for EVs than today’s state-of-the-art batteries—facilitating a shift from gasoline-fueled vehicles to EVs.
Widespread use of EVs would help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil because our transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.
EVs would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from cars, trucks, and other gasoline-powered vehicles.
This project would enable EVs that could travel from Chicago to St. Louis (300 miles) on a single battery charge, costing $10 on average.