Silatronix is commercializing a new class of patented materials based on organosilicon (OS) compounds for use in energy storage devices, especially electrolytes for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. OS compounds are environmentally friendly, non-flammable, high temperature materials suited for use as electrolytes, binders, and coatings in energy storage devices, all of which can lead to new generations of high performance energy storage systems such as capacitors and batteries. In Li-ion batteries, these materials can enhance thermal stability and safety, enable use of high energy density anodes and high voltage cathodes, and be cost effectively produced using existing manufacturing processes for silicone polymers.
Initially developed at the University of Wisconsin and Argonne National Laboratories, Silatronix has developed the most comprehensive library of OS compounds, formulations, and test data for use in energy storage devices in the world. This position provides a “pipeline” of materials for use in the development of customized solutions for energy storage device manufacturers.
Silatronix is working with Li-ion battery producers, and establishing business relationships across the Li-ion battery value chain to commercialize OS electrolytes, including a strategic sourcing relationship with Dow Corning Corporation for silicone electrolyte polymers. Li-ion batteries are a high growth industry driven by expanding use in portable, military, industrial, transportation, and utility products. The market for Li-ion electrolyte materials is projected to grow from $400 million of sales in 2011, to a $2 to $3 billion industry in 2020, and Silatronix anticipates participation in a large portion of this growth.
Among leaders in the energy storage industry, there is nearly universal recognition of the need for improved electrolytes, especially in development of new Li-ion batteries. The flammability, voltage stability, and thermal stability of the existing solvents used in Li-ion batteries are a major cause of safety concerns. In addition, these limitations are impeding the development of advanced Li-ion batteries for all applications, including portable products, electric drive vehicles (EDVs), and utility scale use. Silatronix believes the versatility of silicon chemistry has the potential to produce organosilicon (OS) solvents and new electrolyte formulations that can solve many of the short term Li-ion electrolyte problems, and enable new OS materials to be “engineered” to meet future needs.
The Company’s goal is to commercialize OS based materials that enable development of high performance, safe, environmentally friendly energy storage devices. Silatronix initial focus is on OS based electrolytes for Li-ion battery products. OS electrolytes are compatible with all lithium (Li) based electrochemical systems, including non-rechargeable batteries, Li-ion, Li-air, and Li-battery/capacitors. The process of designing OS electrolytes into a Li battery involves limited changes in the cell design, and these electrolytes can be incorporated into production operations with existing manufacturing processes and equipment. The Company has estimated the market opportunity for Li-ion OS electrolytes could exceed $1 billion in the next 10 to 12 years.
Silatronix, Inc., located in Madison, Wisconsin, is an early stage company founded in 2007 by Dr. Robert West and Dr. Robert Hamers, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Venture Investors, LLC. The Company’s technology combines Dr. West’s expertise in OS compounds with that of Dr. Hamers in nanostructured electrodes and the electronic properties of materials. Silatronix technology was initially developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Argonne National Laboratories.
Through its material development program over the last few years, Silatronix has developed the most comprehensive library of OS compounds, formulations, and test data for OS containing electrolytes in the world. This position can provide a “pipeline” of materials for use in the development of customized solutions for battery manufacturers. As a result, Silatronix has transitioned from the research phase of the development effort to the application engineering phase, and is actively engaged with several Li-ion battery producers. Following are some recent accomplishments at the company:
- Currently providing OS electrolyte samples to select Li-ion cell producers for testing.
- Received a Phase II SBIR grant from US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to develop and deliver Li-ion prototype cells that demonstrate decreased flammability and stable cycling performance for testing at NAVAIR.
- Established a cooperative relationship with a manufacturer of advanced technology batteries for industrial and defense applications, including the U.S. Department of Defense. Saft is a partner with Silatronix in its NAVAIR Phase II SBIR grant.
- Initiated build out of the complete supply chain for commercialization of OS electrolytes in early adopter applications.
- Completed design of Gen 2 OS electrolyte solvents with enhanced voltage and thermal stability in lithium ion batteries.