Lithium battery improvement technology competition

by:CTECHi     2021-07-12

From the perspective of the three leading companies, the mass production time of solid-state batteries is generally set at around 2025. And where do those claims of mass production in 2021 and 2022 come from?

In January 2021, NIO announced on NIODay that it will release a solid-state battery pack product with a single energy density of 360Wh/kg in 2022.

One stone stirred up a thousand waves and exploded several domestic start-ups focusing on solid-state batteries, including Huineng Technology, Qingtao Energy, and Weilan New Energy. Looking at the information, these companies have plans to mass-produce solid-state batteries in the near future.

A battery expert revealed to 'Auto Market Story' that in fact, none of these companies claiming the edge of mass production has reached the level of all-solid-state batteries. At present, most companies claiming to be mass-produced are mostly improvements of traditional technical routes or solid-liquid mixed products.

Take Huineng Technology as an example, it claims that all solid-state lithium metal batteries, but the electrolyte is still not 100% solid, but 90% quasi-solid.

From the perspective of the development of the other two start-ups, Qingtao Energy and Weilan New Energy were both established in 2016. The former was established by the Tsinghua University team, and the latter relied on the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Institute of Physics also uses oxide solid electrolytes on the technical route.

Qingtao Energy has successively obtained investment from BAIC, SAIC, GAC and other car companies, and has reached a cooperation with Hezhong New Energy to jointly promote the research and development and application of solid-state batteries. Nezha U has conducted joint Ru0026D and testing for nearly two years.

In 2018, Qingtao Energy built the first solid-state battery production line in China, which is mainly used in special power supply, high-end digital and other fields. In July 2019, Qingtao Energy signed a contract for a 10GWh solid-state lithium battery project in Yichun City, Jiangxi Province.

Weilan New Energy has two production bases in Fangshan, Beijing and Liyang, Jiangsu. The Liyang plant plans to produce drone batteries, with a capacity design of 200 million watt-hours, and produce 270Wh/kg mixed solid-liquid batteries that can be continuously discharged at 5C.

In the field of power batteries, Weilan New Energy has completed the design and development of hybrid solid-state batteries with high nickel ternary anodes above 300Wh/kg, with a cycle life of more than 1200 times. Based on the 18-24 month introduction period of automakers, the company said that solid-state battery products are expected to be mass-produced in 2022.

Different from the desperate effort of start-ups, in the competitive landscape, the traditional battery giants are ready to maintain a leading position. While laying out solid-state batteries, continue to explore the room for improvement of liquid batteries.

Traditional battery companies are constantly improving battery packaging processes, such as BYD’s blade battery, Honeycomb Energy’s laminated battery, CATL’s CTC technology, and Tesla’s 4680 electrodeless battery.

At the same time, improvements are also made to the positive and negative materials, such as silicon doping to supplement lithium, ultra-high nickel batteries, etc. The so-called silicon doping to supplement lithium is to increase the content of silicon in the negative electrode and increase the content of lithium at the same time to compensate for the increase in lithium loss of the battery during the charging and discharging process caused by the increase in silicon content, thereby improving battery performance.

Ultra-high nickel battery is to further increase the nickel content in the cathode material. The current high nickel battery refers to the NCM811 system, and the nickel-cobalt-manganese ratio may be 9 in the future. : 0.5:0.5 new generation battery.

In summary, before all-solid-state batteries really arrive, the power battery market will have a revolution around improved technology.

Write at the end

In the era of liquid lithium batteries, the market share is mainly concentrated in several places such as China, Japan and South Korea. In the hands of battery giants, these companies have established solid technical and resource barriers, and latecomers have almost no chance of entering the game.

The advent of the solid-state battery era has opened a new channel, and domestic and foreign startups have frequently emerged. At the same time, it also brings opportunities for car companies to regain control of battery technology initiative.

On the one hand, Toyota, Tesla and other companies are actively deploying battery technology. On the other hand, QuantumScape, SolidPower, Huineng Technology, Qingtao Energy, Weilan New Energy Start-ups focusing on solid-state batteries are beginning to emerge.

Start-up companies are quickly making efforts to concentrate on single-point breakthroughs in solid-state battery technology, but these companies often have car companies behind them. For example, Volkswagen and QS, Toyota and Panasonic, BMW and SolidPower, etc.

In contrast, in the progress of the released solid-state battery technology, the voices of Panasonic, CATL, BYD, Samsung, LG, SKI and other head companies are weaker. , But the layout of these companies in the field of solid-state batteries also cannot be ignored.

The giants did not release information prematurely. Perhaps there are two considerations: On the one hand, these companies are aiming at all-solid-state batteries, and the technological maturity is not enough. For the defenders in the battery field, these companies do not have the need to open their trump cards so quickly.

No matter what, every step from 'liquid' to 'solid' is very difficult.

In addition to solving basic scientific problems, solid-state battery mass production also faces the problems of production technology, product consistency guarantee, large-scale cost control, and maturity of the supply chain.

The arrival of all-solid-state batteries will still take 5-10 years. Before that, power batteries will have to go through a transitional stage of technological improvement.

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