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SolidEnergy Systems to unveil world’s largest lithium-metal cell for EVs

(SolidEnergy Systems)
(SolidEnergy Systems)
SolidEnergy Systems will unveil next-generation lithium-metal battery cells big enough to power electric vehicles next month, the Singapore-based battery firm said Monday. 

Large-size prototypes of the cells, not small samples made inside labs, will be presented at the inaugural Battery World, an event the company organizes to showcase its latest products. It will kick off at 11:00 a.m. on Nov. 4, Seoul time, and SolidEnergy Systems CEO Dr. Qichao Hu will appear.

“It took us 10 years to prepare the lithium-metal prototypes. The next 10 years will be about evolving into a complete battery supplier from (our current status as) a battery developer,” the CEO said via a press release.  

While details remain unknown, Son Yong-kyu, the chief technology officer at SolidEnergy Systems, told The Korea Herald during a July interview that the firm would manufacture several hundreds of lithium-metal cell prototypes that are 60 centimeters long at its pilot production line starting September.

SolidEnergy Systems, which was spun-off from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, develops hybrid lithium-metal cells, one of the potential candidates to replace conventional lithium-ion batteries.

Earlier this year, it partnered up with General Motors and Hyundai Motor to jointly develop A-samples of lithium-metal cells. The company is preparing for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Among its investors are Korean companies such as Hyundai Motor, Kia, SK Inc. and LG Tech Ventures.

Lithium-metal batteries have the same four key components -- cathodes, anodes, separators and electrolytes – as lithium-ion batteries. The major difference is that lithium-metal batteries, as the name suggests, use lithium metal for anodes, or the negative side, whereas lithium-ion batteries use graphite.

This change in chemistry dramatically enhances the energy density of lithium-metal anodes, about 10 times greater than that of graphite anodes. This allows lithium-metal batteries to be approximately 30 percent more powerful than lithium-ion batteries, according to SolidEnergy Systems.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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