The MIT spinoff company 24M has unveiled a new approach to lithium battery manufacturing that it says can reduce the cost by a factor of two. The standard li-ion construction process involves coating the active materials onto long strips of an inert tape material that adds bulk and weight to the battery but does not contributed directly to energy storage. The 24M process gets rid of the tape using a new approach developed by Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, who has been involved in previous battery ventures including A123. The energy and power density of the battery is thus increased. The new manufacturing system also eliminates a great many processing steps, so it reduces the manufacturing cost as well.
The company has been working in stealth mode for several years and this week made its public debut: 24M Introduces The Semisolid Lithium-Ion Battery: Company Emerges From Stealth With $50M In Private Capital And A Revolutionary New Technology That Will Slash Today’S Lithium-Ion Battery Costs By 50% – 24M.
Articles about 24M:
- The story of the invention that could revolutionize batteries—and maybe American manufacturing as well – Quartz
- Batteries: New lithium ion startup wants to take on Tesla – Fortune
Tesla Motors‘ Gigafactory under construction in northern Nevada is also intended to lower costs but through sheer economies of scale more than by new manufacturing or battery technology advances. The Tesla batteries are intended both for the company’s cars and for energy storage systems for the home (Powerwall) and utilities and industry.
Li-ion batteries have progressed in a steady but rather slow incremental pace despite periodic claims of big breakthroughs. Nevertheless, I expect Elon and others at Tesla must still have some concern that a new development like that of 24M or Sakti or whomever might make their giant battery factory obsolete before it can pay off the investment in it.
Here are a couple of recent videos in which Elon Musk talks about Tesla and the Gigafactory: