Battery development can’t keep up with market demand
Better and more compact batteries are instrumental in allowing technological breakthroughs in various sectors. Further development and adoption of wireless technology and electric vehicles largely depends on current battery performance. It is therefore crucial to improve both battery capacity and cycle life. However, the battery industry has proven able to only incrementally improve the current lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion) year-on-year. The bottleneck lies in the fact that the negative electrode of the battery, the anode, is currently made of graphite. Graphite is limited in the amount of lithium ions it can bind, thereby limiting battery energy density.
Greatly increased battery capacity due to LeydenJars silicium anode material
LeydenJar replaces the graphite anode with a 100% silicium anode. This leads to a tenfold increase in the capacity of the anode, which is currently the bottle neck to improve the energy density of the cell. The industry has been experimenting with replacing the graphite anode with silicium for years. The problem with the material, however, is that it swells and shrinks upon charging and discharging, making it unsuitable for use in a battery. Silicium therefore currently only makes for a small part in the battery anode composition.
This round of funding allows us to take significant steps in improving lithium-ion batteries over a short time span, making use of a process that is fit to use in current Li-ion battery production facilities – Christian Rood, founder LeydenJar Technologies
Technology from the solar cell industry is key in realizing 100% silicium anodes, and superior battery capacities
LeydenJar has found a way to buffer the shrinking and swelling of the silicium by giving the material exactly the right level of porosity. The material was originally developed by ECN for application in solar cells, but proved to be more fitting in batteries. The utilized plasma process (“PECVD”), which was also developed by ECN, deposes the silicium directly and with the right morphology, allowing for mass production of the anodes.
Over the past year, LeydenJar tested the pure silicium anodes in coin cells, a small battery format. The test results are promising to the extent that several parties are interested to incorporate the material in their test programs. This active market interest is illustrated by the fact that LeydenJar won the BMW Startup Challenge, a competition for innovative startups that help shape future worldwide mobility.
Proof-of-concept fund UNIIQ, BOM Brabant Ventures and private investor Energy Professionals now invest a lump sum of € 550.000. The funding adds to the TKI-subsidy the company raised with partners TU Delft and ECN in the final quarter of 2017, and a subsidy of Metropole Region Eindhoven. With this capital injection, the company is able to further development of both the anode material and the PECVD production process. Research and development activities take place in both the province of Zuid-Holland (material engineering) as the province of North Brabant (process- and machine engineering), covering the regions where respectively UNIIQ and BOM Ventures/Metropole Region Eindhoven are active.
The current round of funding allows LeydenJar to develop a battery prototype fit for use in consumer electronics, an important milestone on the road towards developing superior batteries with applications in energy storage and electric vehicles.
Christian Rood, founder LeydenJar Technologies: “272 years after invention of the Leyden Jar, another Dutch invention will greatly impact energy storage solutions. In our development trajectory, we work closely together with top notch Dutch and German research institutes, the European battery industry, and our financial partners. This round of funding allows us to take significant steps in improving lithium-ion batteries over a short time span, making use of a process that is fit to use in current Li-ion battery production facilities.”
Liduina Hammer, UNIIQ fund manager: “UNIIQ invests in promising and innovative technological ventures in the proof-of-concept phase. The transition towards renewable energy is a relevant theme, and one of the focus areas of the Province of Zuid-Holland. We are pleased to be able to support further development of LeydenJar’s technology, thereby realizing our first investment in this domain.”
“BOM Brabant Ventures, the venture department of the Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij, is pleased to invest in an early-stage company developing groundbreaking technology for optimizing energy storage”, says senior investment manager Jurgen van Eck. “In the development of the anode production process, the company will make optimal use of the strong machine- and manufacturing industry that is so characteristic for the region of North-Brabant, to ultimately contribute to the transition towards sustainable energy.”