Ilika, a research spin-off from the University of Southampton, last week announced it has achieved a simple methodology for producing a stacked solid-state cell battery that, it says, is likely to lead to significant licensing opportunities.
Graeme Purdy, Ilika's CEO commented, “Solid-state batteries are currently commercially available, but are restricted to very small capacities, limiting their commercial impact. This technical innovation enables Ilika to make larger batteries suitable for mainstream battery applications, including consumer electronics. We have received interest from OEM’s from around the globe and we are actively pursuing commercial partnerships to bring this innovation to market as quickly as possible”.
Batteries expected to charge up to six times faster and last four times longer
Ilika stated in the news release that mass-market commercialisation of solid-state batteries will be "a step change in the evolution of battery technology"; enabling lighter, safer batteries charging up to six times faster and lasting four times longer between recharges than the highest performance lithium ion incumbents.
Th company, that also has expertise in material discovery and thin film material synthesis, has been developing a proprietary solid-state battery chemistry and fabrication process over the last 18 months, with a mind to scaling-up manufacture of solid state lithium ion batteries.
It's solid-state batteries are claimed to have a simple fabrication process, mechanical stability and to be stackable, which would be necessary for building larger capacity batteries.
Electrochemical testing of the stacked cells has started and is expected to be completed in Q1 2014.
Ilika intends to initially produce micro-battery prototypes designed for powering wireless sensors, which is a rapidly growing segment expected to create an addressable market for micro-batteries in excess of £1bn by 2017.
The battery architecture will then be scaled-up, using the same process but with faster fabrication rates, to produce prototypes suitable for the largest markets for lithium ion batteries in consumer electronics, including mobile phones, with early adoption foreseen through the defence and space sectors.
An EPSRC grant announced in July has provided funding for the capital equipment needed for that scale-up.
Ultimately, the technology could be scaled for larger format batteries for automotive and distributed energy storage applications.
Ilika holds "some" patents jointly with Toyota
Ilika previously announced it filed patent applications, some of which are jointly held with Toyota, including for a method for depositing thin film phosphates; improved synthesis methods for thin film electrolytes and electrodes; and a method to deposit the components, enabling stacked thin film batteries.
Last month the company said it has received notification that its patent application covering its lower cost metal alloys and their use as electro-catalysts in PEM fuel cells has been given notice of allowance in Europe. This notification follows granting of its patent applications in the USA in December 2012 and in Japan in May 2013.
Ilika Previous funded by TSB in fields of hydrogen energy research and medical research
Back in 2009 Ilika Technologies Limited participated in the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) supported Hy StorM - Tuning Promising H2 Storage Materials Towards Automotive Applications - project.
This was funded with £1.1M from TSB for Low Carbon Energy research. Other participants included Johnson Matthey PLC, University Of Oxford and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
The HyStorM hydrogen-storage project used high-resolution Powder X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) techniques on Diamond Light Source’s I11 beamline to examine the hydrogen storage properties of a range of metal borohydrides.
According to Diamond Light Source, Ti-doping experiments on Ca(BH4)2 demonstrated reversible storage capacities up to 5.9% H2 by weight.
More recently, TSB also supported Ilikia for research into polymer coated cell cultureware for harvesting human embryonic stem cells.
Solid state energy storage technology available for electronics devices elsewhere too
Cymbet Corporation of Texas, USA, claims to be the leader in solid state energy storage technology. The company said is the first to market eco-friendly rechargeable storage devices that provide embedded systems designers with new embedded energy capabilities. It's EnerChip solid state batteries with integrated power management are claimed to enable new concepts in energy storage application for ICs and new products for medical, sensor, RFID, industrial control, communications and portable electronic devices.
Also yesterday, 13 January, Cymbet announced today a partnership with I&C Microsystems Co. to represent and distribute Cymbet’s lines of EnerChip Smart Solid State Batteries and power management solutions in the electronics manufacturing powerhouse of Korea.
Cymbet previously announced a distribution agreement with Atlantik Elektronik, the German electronics distributor and provider of complete solutions for the European and Turkish market.