Electric vehicle manufacturers always have to keep the looming specter of scarce materials firmly in their rearview mirrors. However, innovations in battery design and manufacture might make the fear of running out of materials an unfounded one. A company named XNRGI near Portland, Oregon has given insight into a proposed solution. Their technology utilizes existing unusable silicon platters as a basis for the production of more efficient, higher capacity batteries than already exist. The battery, named Powerchip, is a combination of technologies, marrying chip manufacture with power generation.
The Tech Behind Higher Capacity Batteries
Most batteries used in electric vehicles at present are of the Lithium-Ion type. These batteries operate on the principle of using graphite slurry to serve as a conductor between two-dimensional conductors. XNRGI instead incorporates silicon discs instead of graphite as a parking spot for the electrons that power the circuit. The disc offers a much larger anode surface, which translates in a tenfold increase in the power density of the battery when compared with a traditional lithium-ion cell.
Longer battery life is also something that EV manufacturers can look forward to if they decide to use the battery. Over continual use of a lithium-ion battery, a deposit known as dendrite builds up on the anode. Dendrite can pierce the anode-cathode separator and cause the battery to fail. The silicon wafer used in XNRGI batteries are non-conductive, and because of this property, it resists the formation of dendrite and extends the life of the battery in the process.
The XNRGI is also lighter than current lithium-ion technology, and charges at a faster rate than the batteries that currently exist in electric vehicles. Reports from the company noted that the battery could go from empty to 80% in about fifteen minutes. The increased capacity of the battery means that electric vehicles are likely to see an increase in their range. XNRGI states that they expect EV ranges to see a jump of around 280% when using the new battery technology.