KEYNOTE – Silicon anodes in the field: performance, lifetime, and key issues to be addressed  

Ashley Ruth – Research Chemical Engineer C5ISR Center, Command Power & Integration

0:00:02   Hello. My name is Ashley Reus. I am with the C five by this are centers Power Division. I'm going to
0:00:09   focus on the challenges in particular with integrating silicon entered cells into D o D batteries.
0:00:16   The C five by sources at the C five i star center. We have three main technology focus areas.
0:00:23   Obviously, we have expertise in advanced energy storage like batteries and capacitors. We also have
0:00:29   experienced in an expeditionary power generation, uh, like traditional fuel generators. Aziz well as
0:00:36   solar and wind. Um, power generation. We also have expertise in intelligent power management and
0:00:44   distribution both on a soldier, a swell as in a tactical micro good situation. That application has
0:00:53   been able to demonstrate significant fuel savings because of intelligent power. Management were also
0:00:59   delving into optimize energy storage for an air platform based on our expertise in the areas for
0:01:07   soldiers and technical microgrids.
0:01:10   If you're unfamiliar with the Army modernization priorities, there are six of them. They're listed
0:01:15   on this slide. I'm one of the unique aspect of working in power and energy is this is a cross
0:01:21   cutting topic, um, applicable to all six of the modernization priorities. Um, this is why we have
0:01:28   power and energy. Uh, folks in several different centers. Um, we at C five ice are center focus on
0:01:36   soldier lethality. Um, the network and a little bit into future vertical lift, as I alluded to in
0:01:41   the previous slide. Uh, armament center naturally aligns to long range positions fires. Uh, the
0:01:46   aviation and missile center in Huntsville, Alabama, is aligned with Aaron. Missile defense on the
0:01:53   ground vehicle system center in Michigan naturally aligns to the next time combat vehicle and air L
0:01:59   at Adelphi. Um, they because there are basic research entity, they're not necessarily aligned
0:02:05   directly into any of them because, ah, lot of the technology to develop frankly can be applied
0:02:10   probably to just about all of them. This is an operational view to try to get an idea of power and
0:02:18   energy on the battlefield. But if we focused on just the soldier, the soldier is wearing integrated
0:02:23   visual augmentation system, which is ahead born soldier sensor suite. Um, that has to be powered now.
0:02:29   Bye bye. Something worn on the soldier were also looking at integrating centralized power on the
0:02:35   weapon. Excuse me, which may also require access to that warn power source. We call this power
0:02:42   source the CWB. The CWB is the conform. A wearable battery. Um, and this is how we have been
0:02:49   integrating silicon Intertechnology, um, into our next generation of batteries. Um, specifically, in
0:02:55   this case for the integrated visual augmentation system. So if you've already been able to
0:02:58   demonstrate a twofold increase in run time over the previous generation CWB, which used the
0:03:04   traditional lithium ion chemistry eso that e s I shouldn't call it old. I should call it traditional
0:03:09   lithium ion. Um, CWB requirements are 148 watt hours. Uh, 224 cycles 1 25 is a is a new number, but
0:03:19   we have not yet procured anything, uh, under that value yet on its £2.6. Importantly, this new pack
0:03:28   is the same volume and same weight as the old one on delivers double the run time. We are also still
0:03:36   working at the cell level because we recognize there are a number of challenges which I'm going to
0:03:41   talk about later in this talk Eso we do still have FBI, our effort, um, inspire Lee. Well, silicon
0:03:46   answered sales as well as other funded efforts developing silicon in it silicon efforts. So if you
0:03:53   look at this slide, we cost the battery development timeline perhaps, um, and a lot of folks, um,
0:04:03   find it relatively easy to get up through a laboratory cell, which is column three. Um, you're
0:04:10   ableto create a button cell or maybe a single layer pouch cell and demonstrate your technology and
0:04:16   you know, all right, Awesome. So now we need toe start moving out of this house, right? And try to
0:04:22   fabricate a prototype. So either you know, that entity has to developed the capability of making
0:04:28   maybe a multilayered pouch cell or a spirlea Well, so or, um, you may have to use a facility to do
0:04:35   this or pay a facility to this. Um or, um, you may be able to align yourself with a vendor that
0:04:43   likes your technology and wants to incorporate it into their development of cells. Right. So that's
0:04:49   not ah, trivial feet. Right. Um, and then again, we're still not even out of battery yet. Um, so
0:04:55   you've got a truck right along and moved to a mass produced sell? Um, that of the correct form, fit
0:05:03   and function. Eso the manufacturer now has to be ableto produce cells in a high quantity, Um, and
0:05:10   even further. And now these cells need to work very well. Um, along with their their electrical
0:05:18   configuration, you have to be in a cell match. Um, safety has to be, you know, on point you have tow
0:05:25   past some of these, um, other tests for immersion and water nailed penetration, drop testing,
0:05:31   etcetera. Um, not because we are technical folks are technology readiness level. You know, we can
0:05:39   usually get up to a tear off five, um, through our normal, uh, mission, uh, channels. But what tends
0:05:47   to happen is our manufacturing readiness level lags behind our technology readiness level. Right?
0:05:53   Because really, we're good at making cells and batteries, right? But we're not as experienced in
0:06:00   manufacturing, necessarily. Especially for a new chemistry. Um, so if we try to apply, um, in
0:06:10   overlay of the typical funding opportunities that we have across this timeline, um, you'll find that
0:06:17   early on you have some opportunities for funding, but the problem is you're competing with a lot of
0:06:24   different research areas. Eso Even if you have good technology, it may be challenging to get the
0:06:31   funding you need to progress to the next level of development, and you'll notice that on the other
0:06:38   side of the figure seems tohave an awful lot more opportunities for funding. But these all require
0:06:45   ah, high manufacturing readiness, which, as I just alluded, Thio typically lags behind the
0:06:50   technology readiness. Um, you must have good safety, are reasonable safety. Um, and they must be low
0:06:59   cost right, because at this point, now, once those programs and they're hoping that a an entity is
0:07:06   going to be able to feel this eventually and no fielding entity is going to be interested if if your
0:07:13   your widget costs too much eso how do you get through this? Um, well, you have to design with cost
0:07:21   manufacturing and safety in mind, Um, for starters, toe to be ableto be successful later on down the
0:07:28   line. But typically, we need to have some pool. Um, from a customer that says, Hey, we like this
0:07:35   technology. Um, the good news for silicon is that has happened. We do have folks very interested in
0:07:43   silicon, an ode, which is the reason why we have been able to begin starting working on the silicon
0:07:48   and CWB um, this I'm not going to belabor this very much. This is the manufacturing readiness and
0:07:56   levels. Just trying Thio get you to understand, um, what this means. So m r l six is kind of Ah,
0:08:03   very, very important milestone. Um, because you'll notice the distinction here is we're talking
0:08:09   about batteries now and not cells. Um, and the army frankly buys batteries on DNA, not cells. I will
0:08:19   allow you to google this toe look mawr into em. RL's, um but I just wanted to point out that, you
0:08:25   know, you're still not even at an m r l six Unless you have made a battery in a production. Relevant
0:08:32   environ. Alright, so talking about manufacturing is a design stable, um, and ready for production.
0:08:39   So not always, especially because cell level changes are usually necessary to account for safety. Um,
0:08:44   and that requires a feedback loop. So usually, um, you make yourselves you might find out that
0:08:51   something is not fully optimized, and you still have to do some subsoil component level tweaks on
0:08:56   dso. You know, for the case of silicon in its its not necessarily stable some of the known
0:09:01   manufacturing challenges for silicon. Um I propose are probably materials, cost and and the
0:09:07   transport or volatility of raw materials. Um, the throughput can be a challenge. Scalability of
0:09:14   these processes can be a challenge yield. Um, if pronunciations involved, we have toe that process
0:09:22   itself can be a challenge. And and the new environmental stability Eso there are there solutions?
0:09:27   Yes. Frankly, it depends on the approach. Um, but from the government's perspective, that might
0:09:33   require shifting into an entirely new vendor strategy. Um, because it could be inherent to the
0:09:38   vendor sell approach and their intellectual property. Um, is there an established supply chain? In
0:09:44   the case of silicon, we're not quite there, but because it's becoming more popular, I don't I don't
0:09:49   necessarily anticipate this is going to be a enduring problem. Um, so usually, as the technology
0:09:57   matures, uh, this becomes more reasonable. Uh, how many companies can produce the product? Um, all
0:10:05   right. So the reason I had to bring this up is because silicon in the technology is still very
0:10:10   proprietary in nature. It's part of the reason why I can't talk about it too much about what we're
0:10:14   doing. Um, and the unique approaches, um, unfortunately, actually make the technology less likely to
0:10:21   be fully integrated without the opportunity for multiple vendors. I need to stress how important it
0:10:26   is that multiple multiple vendors is extremely important to the government. Um, we need to be able
0:10:33   to drive costs down. And we need to ensure readiness. If for some reason you know something happens
0:10:38   at one vendor, we can't be without batteries. Um, plain and simple. All right. The reality of cost.
0:10:47   Um so large capital investments typically needed to scale up a facility. And frankly, the government
0:10:55   is unlikely to fund in an appropriate amount of time. Um, that would be ideal for everyone. Um, nor
0:11:02   can it guarantee funds because we're still ultimately at the whim of Congress, and we all know how
0:11:08   reliable they could be. Um, the army buys batteries and not cells. Eso. One thing that really has to
0:11:15   be considered is you know, the cost has to factor in Ah, full battery as a system, right. Eso won.
0:11:22   It would be very intelligent to get involved with a battery packager if if you are not one already,
0:11:27   Um and you know, we really need need the vendors to consider that if you're trying to get US cells
0:11:40   that require a significant amount of compression, for example, you know that has the ability to
0:11:47   apply that compression has to be factored in to your battery cost. Um, does I guess that as an
0:11:55   example, alright, much has to do with the technology marketplace. Um, I think I covered that.
0:11:59   Essentially, I don't anticipate that being an enduring problem because silicon is becoming more
0:12:07   popular. Alright, developing a battery is expensive, particularly because of first article
0:12:12   qualification. So what tends to happen? There is usually that results in a high unit price. The
0:12:17   problem is, program managers and soldiers are not going to buy an expensive battery, even if it
0:12:23   makes sense. An example is a 55 90 and the 53 1955 90 is an S 02 battery 53 90 is seminar to
0:12:31   chemistry. 53 90 has 60% more capacity. That easily justifies the 33% increase in unit weight
0:12:39   because now we can leave fewer batteries behind or more batteries behind. I wrote that wrong during
0:12:44   a mission and therefore we're saving overall weight that we're carrying on our mission. However,
0:12:50   they cost twice as much. So they still sit on a shelf in the l. A. Um so it's trying to drive home.
0:12:57   That cost is very with respect to safety that could be addressed in many ways. Uh, first, it could
0:13:02   be inherent to the South chemistry. Unfortunately, that's not the case for lithium ion cells,
0:13:05   including silicon and IDs s, so we can add it into to the cell level. Um, we can perhaps add in
0:13:12   electrolyte additives or inter facial layers, or create some creative architecture or synthetic S C
0:13:18   I. We could perhaps modify the current collector or take advantage of the cell can or packaging. We
0:13:25   can also use electronic configuration the battery pack, to help mitigate the safety concerns. This
0:13:31   is the most successful strategy for for why we've been able to bring lithium ion cells into battery
0:13:37   packs already. Um, we can also, uh, have mechanical configuration of the battery pack, help mitigate
0:13:44   some of these concerns via either physical protection or maybe thermal management at the pack level.
0:13:51   So specific of silicon. An ode, right? You know, we have a pretty reactive surface. Um, but this can
0:13:57   be addressed, um, in some ways, with creative architecture. But can it be done A cost effectively
0:14:01   and and over time for for an extended calendar life. Um, but so So if I'm over generalizing here, uh,
0:14:10   phases stages one and two here of thermal runaway are altogether not terribly different. And so,
0:14:17   conceivably, if we can, you know, prevent any concerns prior to this phase. Um, relatively speaking,
0:14:24   we're about a similar safety perspective, as we are with traditional Semyon cells. But where things
0:14:32   start to really stand out is here in stage three, because, frankly, um, it's much higher energy
0:14:36   content. This is the attractive trait of silicon, and, um, and naturally, it requires ah,
0:14:41   dissipation of more energy in the same volume on DOF course. We know that, uh, the oxidation of
0:14:47   silicon is more extra stomach than graphite s. So this is why we tend to see a bigger delta here in
0:14:52   stage three eso. Ideally, the strategy would be right to prevent that from happening. All right, so
0:14:59   key military attributes, uh, I'm noticing that I'm running short on time, so I'm going to try to run
0:15:05   through this really quickly. Um, calendar life is very important. Um, safety regulation. I just went
0:15:11   over. Uh, reliability has to be on point. It cannot fail because of warfighters. Life is on the line.
0:15:18   Um, efficiency. Um, this is because we can't plug into a wall, and ultimately, all energy has to be
0:15:26   transported to the field, which is a leading cause of casual. Um, Where to begin? At a minimum, you
0:15:34   need to be about two. And powers and size. Probably. Um, if you wanna be working with us in the
0:15:39   silken inner space because we've already begun working here at a minimum of $300 per kilogram, I
0:15:45   would like to see high throughput. Um, capability. Uh, we want to see some semblance of of cell
0:15:54   matching and manufacturing traceability. Um, it was a stable design. Onda. Again, we gotta consider
0:16:01   that more than one vendor has to be capable of producing the product. Um, you can see here,
0:16:06   depending on your targeted platform, you can talked to a number of us centers. If you're not
0:16:12   interested in a soldier platform, you're welcome to email me. I have counterparts in the other
0:16:18   centers. Um, and you can look at these, uh, specifications here at the link at the bottom of the
0:16:24   page. I recommend typing in the number only because I will get you the base specifications and
0:16:29   you'll be able to see any any follow on information. When you're ready to prototype, we will help
0:16:36   you make a battery. The point of this slide, though, is basically to say, um, if you are able to
0:16:43   find a Pachter that's already contracting with us. Um, one way to get in the door is to incorporate
0:16:49   your technology via an engineering change proposal on beacon requalify packs with your technology.
0:16:55   Typically, this works best when they really like your technology. Andi, I'm just gonna end on this
0:17:02   slide. We talked about, uh, cost and safety and manufactur ability as's kind of the the prime, uh,
0:17:10   concerns that we have to face when it comes to Silicon. Anna's, um, other concerns that I didn't
0:17:16   really go into our system level considerations because we are buying a battery pack. We also have to
0:17:22   consider not only that, but