Evolving EVs: Ferroglobe & Coreshell’s Transformative Partnership

Ferroglobe—producer of silicon metal, silicon-based and manganese-based ferroalloys— and Coreshell,  an advanced battery solutions company headquartered in California, have joined forces to develop the world’s first battery-ready metallurgical silicon, aims to develop EV batteries compliant with the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act for the electric vehicle (EV) industry. The memorandum of understanding signed between these two industry leaders paves the way to accelerate the quest for low-cost, high-range EV batteries by aiming to overcome the bottlenecks associated with traditional graphite-based batteries.

Both companies claim to possess technologies capable of developing lithium-ion batteries with metallurgical silicon-dominant anodes. Central to this advancement is Coreshell‘s proprietary battery technology, incorporating a distinctive nanomaterial electrode coating engineered to counteract the degradation of micrometric silicon, thereby ensuring extended battery lifespan without sacrificing performance. Coupled with Ferroglobe’s metallurgical purification process, it can produce high-purity silicon at scale and in a cost-effective manner.

Silicon anode_EV batteries

Jonathan Tan, CEO of Coreshell, stated, “The issue to date is that no one has been able to unlock the power of metallurgical silicon, and the high cost and scaling challenges of highly engineered or silane-based synthetic Silicon anodes have prevented the industry from benefiting from its true potential. With Ferroglobe’s silicon and Coreshell’s technology, we have unlocked that power. We are simplifying silicon and stripping out the costs so we can deliver the lowest cost, long-range EV batteries in existence.”

Related:Coretec’s Silicon Anode Tech Now Under Provisional Patent

While silicon does offer significant advantages over graphite, such as higher energy storage capacity, availability, and potential for scalability, it’s not the sole solution. Ongoing research and development efforts are exploring alternative materials and battery technologies, such as lithium-sulfur batteries, solid-state batteries, and advancements in graphite-based batteries. Each of these approaches has its own set of advantages and challenges.

Silicon anodes offer higher energy storage capacity, but they pose safety challenges that need to be carefully addressed through advanced materials design and engineering techniques to ensure lithium-ion batteries’ safe and reliable operation. One of the primary safety concerns with silicon anodes is their tendency to undergo significant volume expansion and contraction during charging and discharging cycles. This can lead to mechanical stress on the battery components, potentially resulting in electrode cracking, loss of electrical contact, and, ultimately, thermal runaway or battery failure.

Related:German Project Looks to Sulfur & Silicon for Solid-State Batteries

Various methods, including nanostructuring, alloying with other materials, and incorporating protective coatings, can address safety concerns associated with silicon anodes. While silicon-based batteries can leverage silicon’s high energy density potential, ensuring their safety and reliability remains a key focus for researchers and battery manufacturers. With the automotive industry poised for a transformative shift toward clean energy, the Ferroglobe-Coreshell partnership represents an example of innovation, offering a glimpse into a future where electric vehicles (EVs) are economically viable and capable of navigating greater distances on a single charge.