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Ultimately aiming for automotive and distributed energy storage markets Ilika claims methodology for first 'stackable' solid state battery

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.



5 people have had something to say so far

That's a very good article Tim. Cymbet certainly seem to be quite advanced in bringing solid state batteries to market. I am not sure if Cymbet's technology is using a stacked architecture. Ilika today announced that testing of the stacked solid-state batteries validates the stacked architecture, with two-cell stacks producing twice the voltage and power of a single cell. That seems to be an important step towards commercialisation and out-licensing by Ilika.
Posted on 28/01/14 12:12.
Yes, Cymbet certainly seem to be quite advanced in bringing solid state batteries to market in fact you can buy as many as you want from 20 cents each, or get a free evaluation kit .

And what happened to the £ .1 million that went on the "Hy StorM - Tuning Promising H2 Storage Materials Towards Automotive Applications "

What's going on? We never see a review of how things develop commercially, what is the return on capital.....taxpayer's capital?
Posted on 28/12/14 15:28.
I'll track the progress of Ilika for developments Tony (they announced a new production facility opening for ss batteries just recently).
Also, it's simply not true to say there are no reviews of commercial development - Innovate UK reports regularly on progress of funded companies and of course publish their annual reports and spending plans.
Posted on 02/01/15 12:14 in reply to Tony Smee.
Hi Tim,
Has anyone heard of Elon Musk?

Where does Innovate UK report on funded projects Tim? I see the list of funded projects and some are closed without the column headed public says in the Excel box "awaiting pubic description"
Check projects 19843 to 19865 all closed in 2011 and not even a description of what they did.

If I pick at random.......I got project 19952 the Doosan Babcock CCS pilot at Ferrybridge power station. there's nothing on any governemnt site, but sites like: present the press releases which merely say they spent £21 million and DECC gave £6.3 million and a test rig was built and is now capturing 100 tons of CO2 per day, about 5 tons perhour.

Only a qualified experienced practical skilled engineer like me can see the big picture here.
In the oil & gas industry you can buy a second hand amine scrubber for a few thousand dollars from used equipment dealers in the USA, like Phoenix Equipment Corporation. For a price these guys will come and install the plant.
The oil giants take what they refer to a sour gas and sweeten it by passing through an amine scrubber, there's no new technology here, it's been with us for over 50 years.
The UK total output of CO2 is given by DECC as 50,000 tons per hour. This £21 million of investment captures 5 tons perhour.
A typical large oil tanker burns 300 tons of oil a day, and that produces around 1000 tons of CO2, and there's about 100,000 ships sailing around the world.
Posted on 26/06/15 23:47.
Hello again Tim,
We mustn't confuse annual reports and hype with technical facts and figures. Of course in an annual report everything is going well and millions have been invested in supporting innovation. But in this particular case we might want to know the energy used to compress the gas, to boil the amine to drive off the gas, the total hours in operation since completion, and an estimate of what it would cost to do the same CCS exercise for the rest of the UK power industry which itself is about one third of the total produced by the UK.

In fact removing CO2 from the flue gas is trivial, and such a tiny scheme should not have cost £21 million. To compress and liquify is a big exercise, I have worked on giant gas compressors in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait and this is not trivial, nor is pumping the liquid to a location to be stored. Finally to inject this liquid back into a defunct oilwell is rather challenging as the well may be 5000 feet down in the earth from the seabed and still have some pressure and a high temperature.
Posted on 26/06/15 23:48.

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